This “New Year, New You” thing isn’t really working out.
Two nights ago, I couldn’t sleep. I tried to go to bed around midnight, but when I heard my sound asleep Husband heavily snoring, I knew I was relegated to sleeping on the couch. I suspected then that I knew how the night was going to go, but I didn’t want to jinx myself.
I tossed and turned, incredibly uncomfortable until 3 am. I tried Reiki, breathing exercises, Lavender oil and praying. At 4:30, my Husband’s alarm somehow went off, awaking me after only 90 minutes of sleep. And then it hit. My body cycled between hot flashes and cold sweats. The Restless Limbs Syndrome in my arms kicked in, which tonight was an alternating course of twitching and the feeling of burning needles relentlessly pricking my arms. My whole body was a powerful ache and the pain in my right arm and shoulder was so bad that by 6 am I was frantic. I had taken a Tramadol at 5 and was still waiting for it to kick in, but after only 90 minutes of sleep and no relief, all night, I found that my mind began to take over. The never ending pain, twitching, restlessness and constant cycle of hot and cold flashes reminds me how out of control I am of my body. When medicines don’t work, desperation sets in. Typically, it doesn’t set in quite so quickly, but tonight it did and the horrors and fears of the rest of my life spent this way coursed through my brain; I can’t live like this.
It always shocks me how desperately I wait for relief, only to finally fall asleep and not really bask in it. But that’s exactly what happened. I finally fell off to sleep until 9am. When I woke, my body was exhausted, sick, fuzzy and incredibly achy.
And this is how the entire day went. The pain in my body was out of control. The RLS remained (which isn’t typical). I went from fevers and hot flashes to cold sweats all day and I couldn’t move my right arm. I tried both Oxy and Tramadol and by 6 pm, I lost it. Tears fell and my utter misery and pain took over. It’s hard to live this way endlessly and sometimes the desperation takes over.
My Husband abandoned his homework and sat with me, recognizing that when I finally succumb to tears and desperation, it’s that bad. A second shower and a gallon of Lavender Oil later and I finally found some relief. It was now 6pm.
So quite clearly, this “New Year, New You” thing isn’t at all working out. I’m not new. Nothing has changed. I’m still trapped in this same endless cycle of illness, vulnerability and pain. I’m still not in control of my own body and I have no control over my varying Chronic Illnesses. I’m still stuck in this same body.
But this year IS different. I have control over my attitude, my hope and my determination. It took two years of Therapy to get here, but I have finally arrived. I refuse to allow the scenario I just depicted to consume every facet of me. I DO maintain that control. So this year, for the first year in many, I am taking back a piece of what Chronic Illness has taken from me.
Today, I am up. I finally slept (though poorly) and there is finally relief from the pain this morning. This demonstrates the incredibly tenacity of the human soul, the determination and credence I have to get up every morning and still “live”, despite all of my challenges. I dare to say that my very existence is an incredible feat and I am proud of that.
So this year IS actually new for me. I have set some goals and I hope to achieve them. I have made plans for tomorrow and set a list of things I hope to accomplish. They are MY goals and they are small. Attainable. And fluid. I may not accomplish some of them. It may take me all year. And after the last two days, I’m relegated to knowing that half of my year may again be spent on the couch. But each day that I get up again is a tantamount accomplishment.
This year, that is finally what I am celebrating. And each of us that struggles with Chronic Illness should be proud of the tantamount goal and accomplishment it is every day just to continue living.