Yep. I basically have no clue what I’m doing.
That’s not new. There are a lot of areas of adulting that baffle me. It’s true; I don’t even pretend to have everything figured out. I’m not sure then why I thought being sick would be any different. It’s not something we’re taught how to do. There wasn’t a class in my Masters on handling illness with grace and beauty. Even if there had been, I wouldn’t have taken it. I mean, being sick isn’t anyone’s life plan.
It’s no surprise then that I’m typically unsure about the best way to handle this life. I definitely don’t handle it with grace or beauty. As a matter of fact, yesterday was my most recent extra sick day, and I limped from bed to the living room and groaned at my husband. (I like to think I was saying, “Good morning, my love! I don’t feel very well today, but I love you more than ever” in Wookie.) I laid on the couch for hours and binge watched “Grey’s Anatomy.” There’s not exactly any grace or beauty in the picture.
I’m better than I used to be though. In my first months of being disabled from my job as a teacher, I followed the same routine every day. I would sleep as late as possible, eat cereal in bed, cry about the mess my life had become, and then put on real pants (as opposed to pajamas with llamas on them) minutes before my husband came home. I had no idea how I was supposed to handle the sick life, but I assumed it involved wearing pants. (Full disclosure- As soon as Joe came in from work I would say, “I put on pants. Look at them so I can change.” I have no idea what I thought I was helping.) I’m improving. Even though my health is still a full time job, I’m coping better. I wear real pants more often. I’m not terrified of taking showers when I’m home alone (serious fainting phobia). I’m even able to meet Joe for lunch occasionally. I’m normally hopelessly late, but I get there.
I tell you of this progress to make this point, I had to figure this thing out for myself. There are books with coping mentally with chronic illness, but I needed something to tell me that I needed to get out of the house every few days. I needed something (or someone) to tell me that I needed to feel sunshine on my face occasionally. I needed to hear that protecting my marriage in spite of chronic illness would require more than putting on jeans every day. There was a lot I needed to hear, but I wasn’t finding that information.
Now that I’m in a better place, that’s the book I want to write. I want to write a guide for getting through every day when you’re sick. I want to provide patients- my chronic illness family- with the tips that helped me get through days. I also want to laugh with everyone at the mistakes I made along the way. So, crazy, chronic friends, that’s what’s next. I (with the help of my husband) have started putting together a book with my tips and tricks for surviving this whole being sick every day thing. (And I promise it’ll have better information than “Wear pants.”)
Here’s the truth, though. I know about as much about writing a book as I know about other areas of adulting. This isn’t a path I saw my life following, so I’m hardly prepared for it. I get a little nauseous when I think about publishers and editors and any other job that goes along with making this book a reality. However, this dream has replaced my former dreams that involved teaching and having a family, so I’m grateful for this new spark in my heart. So, it’s true- I have no clue what I’m doing, but I believe I can do it. I mean, I had no clue how to handle being sick every day, and look at me now. Okay, bad example.
So, here’s your chance to be part of the fun. What part of living with chronic illness is hardest for you? What do you wish you had known? What kind of tips do you want to hear? Message me on Facebook or in the comment section with your thoughts.
Peace, love, and health, friends.