It’s really frustrating when you go to the doctor with a problem, with the intention of having him tell you something new to help fix that problem, and instead he smiles and says way too nicely,
“Well, you’re doing everything right.”
Don’t get me wrong; I am super glad that I have figured out how to do everything right. I’m a recovering perfectionist; of course I would never do anything wrong. (*SARCASM*)
It’s still kind of annoying though, to have your doctor say it.
Being chronically ill is not linear.
It takes a really long time to realize this.
Then it takes an even longer time to actually internalize it.
No, friends, being chronically ill is a Cha-Cha.
One step forward, one step back.
I happen to love love love Dancing With the Stars, and if given the opportunity, could talk about Derek Hough and his ridiculously watchable choreography forever and ever.
I’ll spare you for now (don’t think I won’t come back to this eventually).
But really, how often do we accept the backwards motion?
Um, never. Forwards is better, duh.
Yes, yes, forwards, and onwards, and upwards are all good things. They are what we all strive for, day in, day out.
However, backwards still happens. Backwards cannot be avoided.
Backwards can be okay.
(Insert Shock & Awe HERE)
For instance, I have been dealing with some backwards for a week now. I did something weird to my knee, it swelled, it hurt a LOT, I stopped run/walking, then I stopped exercising altogether, and spent most of my time on the couch. Having spent far too much time in circumstances that are described as “bed-ridden” and “house-bound”, the alarm bells have been going off non-stop in my head.
“This is not the direction we’re supposed to be moving in,” the little voice up there says sternly. “Let’s not get used to this!”
And I won’t. Promise.
I’ve been “doing everything right” according to my rheumatologist. I’ve iced and elevated, I’ve rested and recuperated. Whereas my previous experience had led me to believe that I was simply never ever, ever going to be able to get back up on that treadmill, this has not been the case.
I took my step backwards, and now it’s time to take a step forwards again.
I walked a mile on the treadmill today, and it went just fine. No grapefruit knee!
On Tuesday, I talked about Adjusting my Attitude, and today I’m putting it into practice. I’ve always had difficulty “going with the flow” because I couldn’t clearly see a flow pattern. For me, I could only see abrupt stops with few starts in between. Maybe I’m just older now, or have finally earned my Chronic Illness Doctorate (#DumbledoreoftheChronics) but I’m starting to see it, the flow of steps forward and steps back.
Watch this video, at least the first minute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKeUpU446Xg
See how the lady dancer goes back, then forward? See how sometimes she spins so much she can’t possibly know which way is up? See how sometimes they just sidestep and go a different way altogether?
Chronic Illness does that.
It’s just not nearly as pretty.
I’ve decided that part of my attitude adjustment needs to be accepting the nonlinear motion of my chronic life. It helps to think of it as dancing, because I like dancing, and I could watch that Cha-Cha video over and over again (even though Derek Hough is sadly not in it).
I’m making a positive association here, linking my ups and downs to a well-choreographed piece of art in motion. It makes it easier to keep the cranky out.
“Well of course I took a step back,” I have decided to tell my alarm-bell voice. “It’s part of my choreography. Forward steps are up next.”
Maybe, just maybe, that little voice will quiet down long enough to see that it’s true. 🙂
Short post tonight, Chronic Readers; but something to think about, yes?
What has your Chronic Life Choreography been like, Readers? Are you a Cha-Cha like me? A deliberate, blinders-on Tango to wellness? A Jive of trying every new treatment that comes your way? A carefree Samba of letting it all go? I’d love to hear about it here in the Comments or over on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/iamchronicallywell