My health has improved significantly in the past six months, and I honestly am so grateful for this. When your conditions are known for either consistently being bad or getting even worse over time, a significant improvement in health is an incredible blessing. I never imagined that being well (technically ‘less sick’ I am still nowhere near a healthy person’s definition of ‘well’) would be scarier than being sick.
I am in a whole new adjustment period – just like I was when I was getting used to being extremely sick which you can read about here. I need to learn new limits and learn what I can handle at my current level of sick. It’s like, one minute I had the newest iPhone. I’d been an apple user my whole life, so I knew exactly how to use it and never had an issue. The next minute, the iPhone blows up. Boom. Done. So, I downgrade to a $10 phone that can barely make a call, it’s frustrating and most days I just want to throw it against a wall, but eventually I get used to only being able to make calls with my phone. Suddenly, I am given a better phone out of nowhere. It’s certainly not an iPhone, but it’s so much better than the $10 phone I’d gotten used to over the past few years. I can do a lot more with this new phone, but it will take me a while to figure it all out and I have to keep in mind that I can’t do as much as I could on the iPhone. Except I am not a phone, obviously.
Being as sick as I was wasn’t easy by any means, but my choices were easy; or at least the correct choices were obvious. Maybe this is because I had no choice, the state of my body made up my mind for me.
Too sick to work, quit.
Too sick to leave the house, stay in bed.
Too sick to exercise, don’t.
Too sick to drive, get driven.
It was simple – I couldn’t do things, so I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I held on to my ‘healthy’ life routine for as long as physically possible and I didn’t stop anything until I was sure it was completely impossible for me to continue.
Now, I am in a position where I need my life to progress forward and I need to take some pretty terrifying steps back into real life after a major time out for it. To be frank, this scares the shit out of me.
It’s been over two and a half years since I’ve worked more than a few hours a week, but I know it is time to re-enter the workforce. As someone who thrives on routine and social interaction, going back to work should be so exciting – and for the most part, it is – but it is also damn terrifying.
I know I am well enough to work at least a few days a week, that’s not my problem. My issue is I am still adjusting to this new stage of my life. I don’t know how much I can handle, and I don’t know how long it will last. My doctor has warned me that my health can go back to how it was at any time, especially if I push myself too much. It’s like walking towards a cliff, blindfolded. I have no idea where the edge is, I’ve never seen it before, but I know if I walk too far – it’s game over.
What kind of hours can I handle a day? How many days per week? What kind of job can I do? How do I disclose my illnesses to an employer? Will anyone even hire someone with a medical history more impressive than a resume?
I am also going to start driving again, after having two years off the road. There is medically nothing stopping me from driving – I have been seizure free for almost a year and my coordination has significantly improved. Driving is more terrifying than working because my life and the lives of others is in my hands. I have never been a very confident driver, but now after having so long away from the wheel, I am so nervous to relearn everything. I am hoping it’s like riding a bike – something we don’t really forget how to do.
Introducing exercise into my life is another thing I want to do. I want to dance again, I miss that incredible rush of performing and captivating an audience. I miss putting my heart and soul into a routine. How much pain is this going to cause me? How will my body cope with it?
I have more questions than I do answers, and I guess the only way to answer them is to actually get out there and see for myself. There is no “for dummies” handbook for this kind of thing, every case is different. I wish my body came with a user manual – “10 hours charge for 8 hours usage” that kind of thing. But it doesn’t, neither does anyone though.
It’s all a bit daunting at the moment and I am feeling a little overwhelmed, but I am also so excited to see what I can do over the coming months and years. I am taking baby steps towards my goals and slowly getting over my fear and anxieties that have been stopping me from taking action over the last few months. I refuse to take my health for granted, I want to take full advantage of the way I am feeling because I know just how quickly it can be taken away.