Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Turning Back The Clock

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
- Omar Khayyam

Well, actually, we just sprang forward, but aside from the fact that I forgot to change my clock (until I saw my cable box Sunday morning and realized I was an hour behind) and am upset that I lost an hour of sleep, I’ve been thinking a lot about if I could turn back time, to what part of my life would I pick to go back to? (And yes, that entire paragraph is one sentence… and I’m proud of it!)

Basically, this comes out of two things that happened to me over the weekend. Saturday morning, I woke up, nauseous and dizzy, with an annoying throbbing going on in my head. No, I wasn’t hung over. It was my friend lupus rearing its ugly head. It was one of those times when all you can do is hope to throw up or die. Really, it was that bad. After having to lie on the couch for nearly three hours, I finally started to feel better. But I’m still not feeling great. I think the change in weather has a lot to do with it. Rheumatoid arthritis is not fond of the cold of winter, and lupus is not fond of the humidity of spring and summer. So let bygones be bygones (I just can’t win)…

This incident really frustrated me, though. I’m back on my medication schedule and am doing the best I can, but that still isn’t good enough. This type of thing happened almost on a daily basis last year before I was on medication. But it hasn’t happened for a very long time. And I absolutely hate not being in control of my body!

Overall, Saturday was a pretty bad day, trying to get my emotions in check and trying to catch up on all the work that I’m super behind on. I was having a minor (maybe major) freak out and my friend suggested that we go to the gym.

I haven’t been to the gym in well over a year. I’m self-conscious about my body… I’m self-conscious about everything. When I work out, I do a video in my apartment. Two miles in half-an-hour seems pretty good to me (and no one has to see that I can’t lift my legs and arms high enough). But I desperately needed to relieve stress, so I went to the gym. And I survived!

I was pretty despondent Saturday. That’s the sickest I’ve felt in awhile without it being self-induced. On the other hand, though, I was pretty amazed that I walked on the treadmill for 35 minutes (2.5 minutes of which I jogged), and then I did an elliptical-thingy for 15 minutes. It was nice to push myself in that way.

Pretty ironic, huh? In the morning I felt like I was going to die, and then I felt well enough to workout more than I have in a long time. But there never seems to be a victory march that isn’t overshadowed by illness. The constant cycling of these diseases, especially within a 24-hour period, is what really gets to me (both physically and emotionally). I’ve really tried to stay positive lately, but sometimes that’s incredibly difficult.

If only I could go back to the day before I got sick…On the other hand, I’ve learned so much about myself in the last year and a half. And maybe more than learning about myself, I’ve learned what I don’t know about myself – and these are realizations that I never would have come to otherwise. I would have been stuck in the same old box, living the same old life.

Being sick and having a body that pretty much does what it wants when it wants sucks. But there are a lot of people I know that are really emotionally detached from their lives, and they aren’t really happy people. And they are healthy. It seems to me that we always want what we cannot have...

The point is that I can’t be stuck ruminating about the past and the things I can no longer do. And I can’t always be waiting for the future to come, hoping that there is something better down the road. I have to live in the now. I can’t undo the past and I certainly can’t predict the future.

The experience of illness is fraught with moments of lurching forward and then being catapulted back to the reality of a situation, which has the upper hand in the control department. This is undeniably difficult. I went a little over two months feeling pretty well. And then I’m knocked out with a punch to the gut. It’s not a good feeling, but I don’t really have much choice in the matter, do I?


  1. Your writing is always so honest and touching. It is amazing to watch you on this journey of self-discovery (forced by illness perhaps, but handled with grace nontheless!). I see so much of my younger self in you.

    Thanks for always writing from your heart and putting yourself out there.

  2. Dear Leslie,

    I did the same thing on Sunday and like you I was annoyed that I lost and hour of sleep, I am a girl who needs her sleep!

    I totaly get what you are saying about feeling yucky in the morning and then later in the day feeling good enough to go out.

    I did that Saturday, I ran errands and then went to dinner but boy did I pay for it the next day. I was stuck in bed all day in terrible pain.

    I hate that I have no control over my body and I do miss my old life (I was/am a nurse) and loved my job and would give anything to have my old life back. Some where along the line I realized that mouring my old life wasn't going to get me anywhere so I decided that I would just take things one day at a time and live in the now so to speak.

    Thank you once again for writing your blog, I see so much of myself in what you write and it truly helps me deal with my own life. Thank you also for answering my post I wrote on your last blog. I actually cried when I saw that you took the time to answer me...as I said before I don't feel so alone.

    Thanks again,

  3. Hi Mary,
    Thanks again for reading my blog. I try and acknowledge every reader comment if I can. I really appreciate you sharing your similar experiences with me.