Since my second trimester began, I haven’t felt physically good. Despite how they say it’s supposed to go, I had a great first trimester, only to feel nauseated and exhausted when the second one hit. The upside? This temporary trial is teaching me to appreciate those who have a chronic illness, and who brave every day in spite of it.
You, see, I’m learning that living life—getting up out of bed, taking a shower, actually looking at your planner—takes mental work when you feel physically ill, when you just want to sleep, or when you just have to puke. It’s not fun to wake up day after day wondering if you can hold down your breakfast (not always). And it’s quite disheartening to see all your son’s naptimes—the times you used to get things done—fly away by the time you can haul yourself out of bed. Suddenly, all those things that used to be easy seem impossible…because you just don’t have the strength.
It’s no wonder sick people get depressed.
For those who live with chronic illness or pain and who remain positive in spite of it, I salute you. It’s no small feat to go about life happily in that state, and those who do have obviously made some hard choices.
Maybe it was the choice to take a shower today. I made that choice at 5:30 this morning, even though I didn’t want to, and frankly, I didn’t care if my hair was clean. I decided to shower for my family, reasoning that my cleanliness would bless them and might make me feel better.
Maybe it was the choice to lower your expectations for your day, or for your parenting, or for your writing, because really, that’s the only sane thing to do sometimes. I chose to let my son watch TV at 6:15 this morning, even though I don’t like to start his day with TV, because I needed some time to read my Bible and pray. And I made peace with this setup as a possible morning routine in the near future because, heck, I have another baby coming, and mornings are not going to get any easier for awhile.
Let me not rush past that last paragraph. I also made the choice to sit down with God for a few minutes today–even though my surroundings told me I didn’t have time–and I was so glad I did. This is where the choice to think positive for the rest of my day became easier.
What am I reading in this time of physical distress and distraction? Mostly the Psalms. I like the Psalms when I am distracted, distressed, or distraught (and without much ability to focus), because they can be read one at a time, in no specific order, and they still make sense. They are prayers and praises coming from an honest soul, and the words often work to jumpstart my own prayer life.
Today’s Psalms, 48 and 49, helped me to remember that everything on earth, including life itself, is temporary; I shouldn’t spend my time or energy worrying about stuff. The only lasting things are God and his kingdom—the God who is our God “forever and ever” and who will be our great and merciful and and loving “guide until we die” (Ps. 48:14, NLT). It may seem a small thing, but these reminders helped me to relax about the house I can’t totally get in order yet—the pictures I can’t hang, the floors I can’t vacuum, the boxes I can’t unpack—because I’m too sick, or too tired, or the noise would be too much while Sam is napping. It helped me to put my focus back on God, and back on Truth, where it belongs.
After I took time to remember that God is God, God is in control, and God is good, suddenly, the day wasn’t so daunting. I don’t know how chronically sick people do life if they don’t do it with God; but as for me, I have found my lifeline. I have discovered that God can give me joy even when I don’t feel “good.”
Lord, help me to always put you first.
There’s always the Serenity Prayer! LOL Actually, I’ve been struggling to reinstate my Falun gong practice which helps me physically as well as mentally and emotionally. One thing I need to do soon is make changes in my priorities. Thank you for thinking about people with chronic illnesses — I have five and have been fortunate that they have not all flared at the same time! LOL Although the last few months have come close. I’ve discovered that it’s important to remain open, and as a result, decided to try a suggestion made to me by a co-worker to take tumeric daily in capsule form. I started almost 3 weeks ago and it seems to be helping, but slowly. There is no joy in chronic illness, while there is in a pregnancy. With chronic illness it’s chronic and almost always incurable, but mostly treatable. Pregnancy is temporary. One of the ways that I stay positive is to focus on “solving the problem” rather than getting caught up in a pity party. I also insist on finding a purpose to being ill and have been going to a teaching/research hospital since 2009 in order to be an educational tool for the medical students, interns, residents and Fellows there. It’s been rewarding to see that happening right before my eyes. But I have my days. The last week has been tough. Today I’d rather stay in bed, but I need to travel to a medical treatment this afternoon that’s important. I’m not good at finding things either to be grateful for each day or that were positive or helpful, but I’ve heard that it helps, also, for staying positive. Go with the flow, Lindsey. Set your priorities and know what your intent in this life is. You’ll be just fine! And there are lots of people here to support you….
Hi Cinda, I thought I replied to this earlier, but I guess I got stuck thinking about your statement, “There is no joy in a chronic illness, but there is joy in a pregnancy.” Wow. That thought was hard-hitting. You are right. I do not envy those with chronic illness, and I am so sorry you have to suffer so much from multiple illnesses. It sounds like you are making the best of your situation though, especially by offering yourself as a test subject. What a great use of a bad situation. I wish you all the best in these battles, and I hope you keep finding more and more purpose (and more solutions) to the pain.