As we look forward to a new year approaching, with the Christmas holidays upon us, I’m sure you are thinking ahead. I realized how close 2020 is when last week I began making doctor’s appointments for the coming year. Here it comes, ready or not. Time to order a new datebook and time to contemplate the new year coming at us. I thought it would be fun and enlightening to look ahead, once more, as we have in years gone by; or perhaps I should say whizzed by? Please let me share with you my own personal vows to myselffor the coming year, 2020. I will probably have to read them myself often over the coming year.
1. Don’t let us get sucked into the “puny, failing health” way of thinking. Each year brings new drugs, new remedies, possible new doctors with new approaches and helpful ideas. Our mindsets have a significant influence on our health in the coming year just as it does now. Never underestimate the power of our minds. No matter how seriously we are assaulted by our bodies, we don’t have the right to sit down on our backsides and slide into the slime pit of despair. Just the thought of that act alone makes me cringe due to all my backside problems. Sliding anywhere on my sitter and back is just too hideous to comprehend. Ouch! I won’t be sliding anywhere anytime soon.
2. I must avoid, as if they had the plague all individuals who want to dump on me or have the desire to play, “mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the sickest one of all.”It’s a waste of precious time to talk excessively and obsessively about their own health…or mine. I try to save that conversation for the doctor’s office or an article I’m composing. Complaining day and night is of no use.
3. I try to fight against every part of my malady, injury or disease that is trying to suck me under. I try to remember sometimes life hurts but that’s doable; and just keep moving, planning ahead and breathing in air as I take one step after another. I take my medications, follow orders from my medical specialists as long as it makes sense and look on the bright side, laugh and love so those healthy endorphins can affect my brain and body.
4. I try not to let myself fall apart. I used to be cute, a bit pretty and know I am no longer either of those things but I still strive to be attractive. Sick, older and infirmed does not equal ugly so why help it happen? I remember my Mom’s words to always look my best and take pride in my appearance, think about hygiene and when it becomes difficult, I make myself remember any exercise is good exercise. Brushing my teeth counts. Rubbing lotion onto my arms, feet and legs counts; especially if you literally count to forty while you massage it in forty times. That’s forty times each arm will be exercised each day. Climbing stairs counts as does all daily functions. I must keep counting on my body to come through for me. If I give up on it, it might retaliate and give up on me.
5. You and I must think about what we eat. I try to keep up with nutritional precepts.Food is fuel but it is so much more than that. If you and I don’t eat a well-balanced diet, I still take my vitamins and minerals each day. I try as much as humanly possible to be aware of what I am putting into my body.
6. My eye sight isn’t great and I miss reading a daily newspaper or a weekly news magazine, but still try to stay up on the news; until it becomes too depressing. Then I must take a break. The idea is to get my head outside of myself. There is a huge world out there full of healthy, some sick, innovative and wonderful human beings. It will remind you that you are not alone. Keeping up with the outside world will also help us keep our perspective and find numerous individuals who also must face life as a challenge. You and I are members of a vast array of humanity. Some days, if the news is too heavy, I’ve learned to turn it off. I don’t want some idiot politician or news reporter trying to ruin my day. Beware, they’re everywhere these days.
7. My dear husband and I try to give a portion of what we have to charity. There are so many who need help in today’s world. There are children’s hospitals, veteran’sorganizations, food banks, etc. Even if you only give one dollar it will come back to enrich your soul as well as helping another fellow human who needs you and I. I have found you don’t have to be rich to share what you have. We certainly are not.
8. I have left three doctors over the last two years. One was a jerk. Another was inadequate and only talked about her political obsessions and a third, well it was just time to move on. Those of us with chronic pain succumb more easily than most to depression and discouragement. I find it difficult to get to the doctor, especially one in another town due to the ride. I decided to stop wasting my time and energies. I also try to reach out toward any source of inspiration whether it ismy faith in God, the beauty of a sunset or the awesome sight of a bird in flight. Let your mind give you strength through the beauty of of nature when your body has little of it; I try to.
9. I try not to be a morose moron and on awakening each morning I pray, “Morning Lord. Thank you for this day you have made. I know I have 24 hours to do something small, significant or worthwhile. Please help me work through the pain and value my life.”
10. I try to remember, each day, the fleeting quality of life. I am not going to live forever so I try to truly live my life, not just exist. I can easily find joy in myspouse, our pets and our friends and family. Laughter is a medical modality. It’s good for my health and yours, also our hearts and minds. You can’t find any better medicine than that.
11. I avoid anyone who tells me to be realistic. I like to be fanciful, believe in magic and look for the fairy dust in life. I refuse to embrace invalidism or those who encourage me to do so. This includes moaning, sighing and self-pity. Crying is allowed as a release valve or preferably if you are crying on behalf of someone else. If I must behave in a bitchy manner (Yes, it happens), I make it quick, get it over with and get on with the business of living. If I need to cry, I cry; then dry it up and get back to life. The same goes for irascible behavior.
12. I try to beware of the pitfall of displaying my maladies to others as in toting around a heating pad, complaining excessively or attempting to wrench pity from others. I avoid fainting couches and handkerchief waving. I am neither Bette Davis in DARK VICTORY, nor some other melodramatic actress and this is real life; I am also not Joan of Arc. Both of those women ended badly. I have foundthe rewards of such behavior to be hollow, empty and non-gratifying. It’s also an abuse of love and caring both for myself and for others who care about me. Love is a gift, not an excuse to beg, whine or grovel for attention. I try to keep this pain in its place and not let it dictate bad behavior on my part. I find I can be true to myself by behaving myself.
13. I want this coming year to be one of miracles for all of us. I’ve already had two amazing things happen this past year and a half. None of the doctors I’ve gone to for the last 15 years have known much about one of my diseases I have lived with for over 30 years. It’s so rare, it is only found 4 times out of a million patients. It’s a rheumatoid disease that effects the soft tissue of the body, joints, etc. It primarily changes the composition of cartilage. It is called Relapsing polychondritis. I now have been led to two doctors, my new rheumatologist and my fairly new internist who have actually, each of them, had a patient with this rare disease. They are not only knowledgeable but young, bright and compassionate. I have always believed in miracles but now I believe in them more strongly than ever before. I am loved by a loving, caring spouse and family and friends as well as a heavenly Father and feel so very blessed. This loving God is there for anyone who will embrace Him and have faith. How about if each of us make this the year of believing in miracles of all types?