I took a walk this morning!! Such a huge thing when I have the desire to go AND the ability to go at the same time! My husband is at work and yesterday He was also able to work all day without coming home to make my lunch (which is huge!). My body still aches and runs fever from inflammation and from an over stimulated brain, my heart rate is still far too high causing blood pooling in my legs and feet making them swell, my headaches still persist and I’m still in bed most of the time using a heating pad to ease the aches and an ice pack to keep from over heating. I may have had my young daughter bring me 2 slices of cold pizza for lunch yesterday because I couldn’t even walk to the refrigerator and get it and put it in the microwave. But that’s because I spent the energy I did have on crafts with her and much needed paperwork/research that needed to be done for my husband and talking to 2 separate doctor offices to schedule another appointment and some needed testing for me (it’s all about prioritizing the little bits of energy).
This thing called life is really hard, tons of mental and physical limitations, but truly, this is the “easiest” it’s been in 4 years and I WILL NOT take the little things for granted. I refuse to forget where I’ve been and where I can easily be again. This journey of chronic illness and mental illness never goes away but it does go up and down. The fear of the next down is a constant threat to steal the joy of the ups. Not only that, but sometimes I have to look really hard to find “good” in the midst of so much hard. That’s one of the reasons I started focusing on the fact that “the little things are the big things”!
When my daughter was diagnosed with an extremely severe and terminal heart condition my whole perspective on life changed. The things that used to matter didn’t anymore and the little things seemed huge! We just focused on surviving and every moment and every milestone was an un-promised gift. We’ve continued to have multiple unexpected challenges but truly the perspective of cherishing the little things has been an important piece to fighting to keep moving forward. I can get discouraged at how sick I am and my major limits and then I remember that 2 years ago I couldn’t even take a shower…as in, the idea seemed unreachable! Most days I was never even able to leave my bedroom. I needed help for basic care. I was so sick that I had to go out of state and I spent 2 months at the Mayo Clinic getting intense testing and invasive (painful!!) treatments. I got pneumonia and went septic (it was scary, although I had excessive memory loss from treatments during this time which is a whole other set of trauma). I was so fragile and so so so sick. Now I shower regularly and while it’s hard it’s also just something I do without thinking much about it!
So ya, it may have taken me years to get here and I may still have a life that looks significantly “different”, I still need tons of rest, I use a wheelchair when needed, I go to therapy, I have to have regular treatments, I see a lot of doctors, I take meds, I lose the ability to walk and talk occasionally, I fight the darkness of mental illnesses, etc. But I also feel some new strength, some new hope, I get to spend more quality time doing fun things with my daughter, I can (usually) take care of my own basic needs (except for food), I can run short errands on good days, I can drive on good days, I can do light exercises, I can help my husband carry the load, I can help and encourage friends, etc.
So now do you see why the little things are such big things to us? We fight for our lives and the little moments are what give us glimpses of the reason we fight! They refuel us to keep going, they gives us tastes of heaven. They remind us that there is good in the midst of pain. We find purpose when we look forward. They say “not to look back because you’re not going that way” and boy is that true when you are talking about things you can’t change, BUT when I start to feel discouraged by my slow progress I look back and, as it turns out, even when you’re moving at a snails pace, if you keep going you can cross a lot of ground! Keep going friend maybe one day you’ll take a shower without even thinking about it and then it will hit you, “I JUST TOOK A SHOWER!” And that is so worth celebrating because “the little things really are the big things”!