Over a year ago, I wrote a great post about my chronic pain toolkit, which I invite you to rediscover when you are done reading this post. Today, I realized that I have more than just those three tools in the box, so I wanted to share more about the unconventional items that help me live my best life despite chronic illnesses.
At the risk of exposing the geek that I am, I admit that I am a huge Big Brother fan. I mention this because the motto of the show is "Expect the unexpected." which pretty much sums up what living with a chronic illness (or six) is like for me.
While I'd like to say that my life before chronic illness was calm, cool and collected, it wasn't. I've had plenty of prior experience with the unexpected, so I know all about being flexible. In that regard, I guess you could say that my prior life has been preparing me for my current set of circumstances.
The greatest lesson flexibility teaches is to just go with the flow of life, instead of trying to swim against the current. Go with the flow and you can float and relax; fight the water and you risk getting sucked under or drowned.
I love my hubby. One of his quirks is that he is a big planner. I used to be a big planner too, but I've learned the hard way that plans and the highly variable symptoms of my chronic pain and chronic fatigue don't always cooperate.
That is where persistence comes in. It's that whole "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." adage. That means I can't let my derailed plans get me down. Sure, it is hard to accept that getting things done might take a really long time--from three to ten times as long when compared to my healthier days. I just have to reschedule (and reschedule) and believe that if it is meant to happen, it will happen, in its own time and space.
I'm not saying that I am by nature an impatient person. Quite the contrary! What I am saying is that living with chronic illness presents challenges, obstacles and delays that would try the patience of a saint. And I am no saint...
This is where my other tools come in handy.
This is where I need to have faith that I have a purpose, albeit one that I do not clearly see or comprehend because of fibro-fog. This is where hope keeps me focused on the fact that good things are just around the corner and that I can live a good life in spite of my health challenges. This is where love comforts me and reminds me that my poor, sick body is doing everything it can to keep me moving forward.
Funny thing is, the more I write about my chronic pain toolkit, the more thankful I am to have discovered these wonderful coping strategies that get me through even my very worst, terrible, no good, very bad days.