Acceptance, Attitude Adjustments, Be Happy, Being Strong, Coping, Courage, Invisible Illness, Just Breathe, Laughter, Love, Passion for Living, Thankfulness, That's life, Uncategorized, Unexpected Life Events

Just Keep Going…

It’s been 130  days since my AN diagnosis.  Since then, I’ve been through loads of doctor appointments (I’ve lost count), a variety of tests, another diagnosis of an infection in my mastoid bones (behind my ears), which seems to be resistant (I’ve been on 4 different antibiotics so far), and a seizure.  I’m now on anti-seizure meds, and a few things to try to control my headaches.  This seems to be the new “normal” for me, and we just keep hoping for the best with each appointment.

I try not to miss any work.  I’ve actually only missed 3 days out of 70 so far this year, and have taken an early leave here and there for doctor appointments.  I also go in early almost every day……a habit I’ve had for a very long time.  I know if I sit at home, I would get depressed…..something that is easy to do with any illness.  I don’t want to add depression to the list of conditions and symptoms.  Besides, I love my students, and appreciate that this is probably the best class I’ve ever taught!  I guess I need them right now.  They let me know how much they love me, and how much they care about me.  They tell me constantly that they love me, they hug me, they make pictures for me, are pretty well behaved, and they understand that sometimes I can’t get up too fast!  I told them about my recent EEG, and they enjoyed imagining their silly teacher with the 25 electrodes coming off of her head.

I don’t let a lot of people see me when I’m feeling bad.  I have learned to manage that very well.  The teacher who teaches next door to me, Tamesa, has become such a great friend.  We vent, laugh, cry, and support each other every day!  She is one of the few who sees me holding my hurting head, or can tell by the look on my face that I’m in pain, and knows what is going on, without me having to say anything.  It’s nice to have a friend/co-worker like that, but she also understands my fierce independence, and knows when I just need to push through.

I have had people ask me how I do it.  How do I keep going?  The commute? Teaching 1st graders? The work load? One of my husband’s friends in New York said in his thick NY accent, “She’s a troopah!” Well, what choice do I have?  Like I said before, I don’t want to sit home and get depressed, having no interaction with anyone.  While I might need more rest now, I still believe that I can manage this more effectively by continuing to keep busy, and keep a normal schedule. And…..I don’t want to give up my way of life.  I don’t want to get old before my time.  Young at heart = hopefulness and positivity.

I have seen people with chronic illnesses give up, go on disability, stay home, and become old before their time.  If you know anything about me, you know I have a sense of adventure and fun, and a curiosity to learn about people and places.  I love travel.  I love museums.  I’m not old enough to give up that part of myself.  I might stumble a bit here and there.  I might not hear everything, especially in a noisy room.  I might be hypersensitive to loud noises.  I might have headaches.  I might feel pressure in my ear and head.  I might have vertigo that makes life feel extra wobbly.  I might have to be more aware of the signs (auras) of an impending seizure.  I might have to eventually have surgery. But my life will not stop being enjoyable because I have a chronic illness! I refuse to give in to this.  I guess this is where my stubbornness pays off!

Over the last 130 days, I have learned so much.  I’ve learned that I am much stronger and more determined than I ever realized.  I’ve learned that I keep my balance better if I give myself more time and turn on lights!  I’ve learned that my husband is a jewel (I actually already knew this, but he has just confirmed it, as he helps me up every morning so I don’t fall, reminds me to be careful, and is understanding and supportive with my fatigue and limitations).  I’ve learned who really cares about me, and who is there to support me on this journey, wherever it leads me.  Fortunately, there are a lot of people supporting me that I never knew cared so much!  I’ve learned that naps are not only enjoyable, but they really do help!  I’ve learned a lot about two illnesses that I have, that I never dreamed would affect me.  I’ve learned to really appreciate small acts of kindness, quiet moments, fresh air, a good laugh, a walk, and all of the positive things in life.  I want to be the best me I can be for my children, who I know have been worried and scared through this.  I want them to enjoy their silly mama, who loves to laugh and embarrass them in public.  I want to be the best me for my husband, who shows me his strength every day, but I know he worries and gets scared from all of this too.

So the last 130 days of knowing what is wrong with me has been an emotional and physical roller coaster, but I appreciate what it has given me.  Things can always be worse!  I can do this…..with a few adjustments and a lot of support from those who love me.  I’m not ready to give up anything yet…..and I won’t.

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Acceptance, Attitude Adjustments, Be Kind, Insensitivity, Kindness, Respect, Shit happens, Taking responsibility, That's life, Uncategorized

Everything Does NOT Happen For a Reason

We’ve all heard the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” Do any of you hate that saying as much as I do?  I believe that SOME things happen for a reason, but not “everything.”

Usually, when that statement is made, it’s because we have learned a lesson by the events that have taken place, or the choices we’ve made.  Yet, it’s also a cop out and lame excuse to make in order to justify an outcome, or to make sense of things.  I understand that certain things in life happen in order to teach us something, or for us to make changes for the better.  I understand that the choices we make help us to make better choices in the future, or at least, different choices.  Yet, there is a whole lot of ugliness, hatefulness, selfishness, jealousy, spitefulness, violence, and evil in this world, which causes a lot of misery for others, at no fault of their own.  That statement makes the victim’s pain seem insignificant…..and justified.  That’s wrong.

The violence and abuse directed at children, innocent women in an abusive relationship, animal abuse, hate crimes against a person of color or someone “different” than them, and murder of completely innocent people happen FOR NO REASON.  Why do we say that a child being tortured and murdered “happens for a reason?” How cruel is that for the child’s parents to hear?  It’s ignorant and mean to say this around someone who is hurting.  Is this said to make us feel better about not being able to prevent it?  Is it said as a way to comfort ourselves in the event of tragedy?  There are so many horrible, senseless tragedies that happen in our world to innocent victims.  It’s unfair to treat their pain and suffering as something the rest of us can learn a lesson from.

Stop saying, “Everything happens for a reason.”  It doesn’t.  It’s mean.  It’s stupid.  Just because it makes YOU feel better for saying it, others, who have truly suffered at no fault of their own, find it painful.  Everything does NOT happen for a reason.  Just because you learned a little (or big) lesson on the path of life, does not mean that “everything” happens for a reason.  Life is about learning, and finding who you are.  Learning along the way is normal.  If you don’t learn anything, then something is wrong with you, and you will continue to make the same mistakes along the way.

If events in your life were different, and if you made different choices, you would still learn something.  You would still meet significant people along the way.  You would still have goals and aspirations.  Timing would still be important to what happens, and where you would end up.  There would still be difficult people along the way.  If you said then, that “everything happens for a reason,” then wouldn’t that contradict the life you have actually led?  We don’t know how different things would be if certain events didn’t happen along the way.  We don’t know what it would be like if we met different people, chose different careers, made different choices.  We don’t know.

Every time I hear someone say, “Well, everything happens for a reason,” I want to tell them that I feel sorry for them.  They obviously don’t have any faith in their own decision making, or confidence that they can make changes in their life.  I also pity them for going through life having no compassion or empathy for anyone who has suffered.  Do NOT say, “Everything happens for a reason” to someone who is hurting.  Actually, just stop saying it altogether. Things happen.  Life happens.  We obtain goals.  Dreams come true.  Terrible events occur………lift each other up, support each other, and stop making the lame excuse of “everything happens for a reason.” It just happens.