First off I would like to say thank you. I felt terrible for the lack of updating my blog (which I will explain in a bit) and pondered if it was worth continuing to write in this blog. Although a part of me started this blog to help myself during this journey, I also started it to help anyone else trying to figure it out as well. I am trash sometimes at updating, I really dive into personal stuff, and I am terrible at advertising my blog. I basically use Instagram occasionally to advertise it. I don’t really partner with anyone and I don’t sell products- I just write. But when I looked at how far I had come and how many people actually took the time to read my little blog, I reconsidered. So thank you to the almost 7,000 of you who have read my journey, whether you have been there from the beginning or are just joining.
Things are getting better just so everyone know. Gertrude (my crutches) and I officially parted our ways April 5th and I was approved to go back to work Monday! Knee is doing very well. Bowels are a work in progress, but it is progress so I will take it. Small victories!
But today I wanted to talk about change. A lot has gone on in the last 8 weeks of my life and it’s been all very sobering and humbling. I got sick again, I got in a car accident, I had an interview, I finished my second semester of grad school, and I lost my best friend of 16.5 years.
She is actually the inspiration of this post.
Now I don’t know if any of you have a pet, but I would highly recommend it. I’m a little biased and would say dogs are the best. Mostly because I’m allergic to basically everything else out there. Animals are way more empathetic than we give them credit for. They are so loyal and love you in such an unconditional way. And they don’t just love you, they develop their own little bonds with anyone frequently in their lives. When I was sick, she was there to cuddle me. When I was lonely or when I went through my very first heart break, she cuddled me. She just knew.
Daisy was the first pet I have ever lost and had to put down. I had no idea the impact it would have on myself and my family. I felt like I was at a funeral for my own sibling or parents (and I have not had to experience this yet, and hope not to any time soon). The heart ache and hole it left in our lives was huge. We were all in shambles, including my dad who usually kept it together for everyone else.
And I felt like life was so unfair. Things were just starting to turn around. I was just getting back on my feet again. What was worst was how sudden it all felt. She was okay the week before and the couple days before and then suddenly she just fell so ill so fast. I selfishly wanted her to stay longer. I believed she still had so much life left to live. But as we looked back at old photos, I realized how much she changed.
My life for the last year and a bit has been all about sudden changes. Changes that are so in your face, you can’t deny it is happening. And usuaaaaally, you have no say in these changes. It just happens and you gotta roll with it, end of story. Daisy’s passing also felt so sudden. It felt so out of the blue and it completely blind sided me. I mean we knew she was old and her time would eventually come, but I was not ready to say goodbye. But are we ever?
But back to the photos. Her changes were subtle. Little things like not cuddling with us as much and spending more time in her own bed. Not coming down the basement where I slept to cuddle. Not searching for a spot to sunbathe. Not enjoying walks as often. Not noticing the weight she lost (but her appetite was still the same. I swear she could eat a steak faster than I could and still want more). And these things gradually changed over the span of the year. They were so gradual that we just made little accommodations to make her life easier without really questioning why we were doing it. We knew she was getting old, but she still had spunk and personality so we didn’t take the time to acknowledge how old she was really getting. It just kind of slipped under our radar. Looking back now I see how much she has changed and how her quality of life has changed. This made me more comfortable with our decision to let her go and be pain free.
All of this got me wondering, what other gradual changes have I failed to notice? That we have all failed to notice?
We adapt. That is how we survive. Even when we don’t want to change, we do in little ways. I’m sure some of you remember how adamant I was that this illness would not completely change me. I was going to fight the system! My system! Yeaaah right. I made changes. Some really big ones that I had no choice in, but even small ones. A few days ago I panicked that I was a terrible chronic illness warrior. I see all these people on my Instagram feed who are so fit, who work out, eat the healthiest and personally to me craziest diets. I mean, no cheese? No ice cream or milk? No bread? What would my life be? So I thought- I am doing this wrong! I am a terrible human for not making changes like these people.
But I did make changes, my own changes. I learnt to listen to my body. I know what my trigger foods are and have avoided them to the most part at all costs. Luckily dairy and gluten are not one of them. But I sure as hell loved coffee and had 6 cups and day, but half a cup won’t even fly anymore. I gave it up. Gave up carrots, corn, peas, milk that was lower than 3% (I used to drink 2%), etc. I made those changes over time. I also took the time to research vitamins and take vitamin D and B12, which is huge because even back in the day Flintstone vitamins couldn’t convince me to routinely take them.
I also learnt how to better balance my life. I learnt my limits and how to properly communicate this to people. I have learnt to value friendships and relationships in a different light. I have taken the time to address my mental health more and take more time to take care of my needs and myself. I take the time to think out my decisions a little better now instead of just jumping the gun and doing something simply because I want to.
I have changed in many ways that I did not initially see. I was so focused on my bowels, my weight, my hair, my cheeks, my feelings, my stress, and physical ailments. I was focused and stuck on the changes that were grandiose. Even in my illness now I get frustrated because I feel like now changes aren’t happening fast enough. But I need to take a step back. I have come a long way since my beginning with U.C. I may not be in remission, but I’m not bleeding every time, I’m not going 20+ times a day, and I’m not spending most of my evenings crying. I am living life.
So I think we all need to take a step back. To recognize the subtle changes in our lives, good or bad. To recognize that we adapt. We survive. Life doesn’t get easier. In my opinion, we just get stronger and learn how to adapt better. Life isn’t a ride going straight up, it will always have ups and downs. And it should. It’s what keeps us humble and grounded. It’s what makes accomplishments that much more victorious. It’s what makes the good times even better and allows us to appreciate them better.
It’s okay to grow with big leaps or little leaps. And you will survive whatever may come your way. Because you have already survived this much to get where you are now. If you look back at any moment that was genuinely happy for you, I’m sure you can pinpoint moments that were a struggle beforehand.
So embrace all of your changes and embrace the ones the are coming up. You don’t grow as a person if you are always the same. Every new challenge in your life will demand a version of you that is not quite developed, but experiences develop us and we learn to be better. It’s all a part of life and the process to where we need to be in my opinion. It is almost never easy and can be quite painful, but there are moments when you look back and appreciate these moments in a new light. And that’s what makes it all worth it.
Goodnight dear readers.
P.S. I was contacted by an individual who forwarded me an article regarding “Uncovered Alternative Treatments for Chronic Pain”. It specifically talks about financial concerns for chronic pain and I intend to share it with all of you as well as write about my honest opinion! I think it’s important to always share information with you all, as it may not work for everyone but it might work for some people and in my eyes that is helping! So keep updated for that 🙂