Happiness and Joy…

Today was not one of my better days.  The whole house has been fighting a little something the last few days and now Josh, who is rarely ill, came down with it as well and was feeling bad enough he decided to work from home today.  He has a terrible cough and we have to be a bit careful with him so that it won't go to his chest or a simple cold can become rather ugly.  So, I had a house of sickies…no one particularly terrible but just not quite well.   I am hopeful this is our last go for the season.  We have been ill more than normal this year and I think it is due to moving to the city.  If you are not accustom to being around throngs of people, it takes a while for your body to adjust and learn to fight a little more diligently to ward off those errant infections.  Our Pastor educated us to wearing gloves when out and about and I have to say, that was extremely helpful in reducing the amount of illness.  We are New Yorkers in Training.

The neuropathy has been particularly bad today making moving or even concentrating rather difficult.  I'm not 100% sure why I am so bad today other than the barometric pressure is moving or I am fighting what the rest of the family has.  I have bad pain even when the pressure is high if the pressure is moving up and down.  Anyone with a significant injury, pain disease or even pain sensitivity will testify to that fact.  So, I have doubled-up on my pain meeds, even with using the TENs machine, and still have found little relief.  There are some days when nothing seems to work and no one knows why.

When I first contracted Lyme, it was difficult to understand why the pain was so high and why I couldn't seem to find relief.  At first my whole life consisted of finding a way to control the pain.  We quickly learned that wasn't possible.  The pain was a nerve based pain, from what we were told, due to the Lyme infecting the nerves causing severe swelling creating a very painful neuropathy which is a pain that even morphine can only take the edge off.  It took us a long while to find a level of pain medication that wouldn't put me to sleep all the time but would give me enough relief I could function.  We finally found that place but there are days when nothing will helps.

Tad crawling on Seb for the first time.
Today was one of those days and a day I took stock.  I tried to figure out how I got here.  I love to have our family pictures flip through as my screen saver on my laptop.  I sit and knit and watch them as they scroll by and I am able to relive all those happy memories.  One popped up of us putting down the brick patio in the front of our house.  Actually, I put almost all of it down myself.  We didn't have a lot of money but Josh found a bunch of bricks for free if you went to pick them up so, we rented a truck, two dollies and our family rolled up their sleeves and started loading bricks.  We were exhausted but it was going to be worth it.  I can remember every muscle trobbing after that little adventure, but it was a good feeling, one you enjoy after  exercise.  The next few days we spent preparing and laying the bricks.  As I mentioned, I was the one who laid almost the whole patio because Josh had to go back to work since the weekend was over.  The patio turned out nice and served us the entire time we lived at our house.  As I sit here now, trying to get enough courage to brave a last trip to the bathroom for the night, I wonder how I went from being in good enough shape to move hundred of bricks and then prepare and lay a patio to not being able to walk.  It all seems so surreal to me.  I keep expecting to wake from this terrible nightmare and have my life back.  But, so far, that has not happened.  

It is greatly burdensome to go from being highly active, a person who makes things happen and who controls their surroundings to a person who can't control their own body.  At first you just try to make it from day to day but after a while, pain becomes second nature and your mind learns to filter past the constant discomfort and begin processing the commonplace life happening around you.  That is when I had to start making adjustments in my thinking.  When your instinct is to get up, dust the shelf in front of you and set all the baubles back correctly spaced and yet you can not walk to do complete such a simple task, you have to adjust your thinking and let that shelf go, there are other things more important.  It's the adjustment in thinking that is the hardest part, maybe because you feel as though you are loosing a piece of who you are in the process.

The longer you are in your diminished state the more adjustments must be made.   This is necessary, especially when you have loved ones who are putting their lives on hold to do everything in their power to meet your every need and  to see you get better.  I had to make every effort to make things as easy on them as possible so I had to change my standards and expectations of life, however, that comes at a price mentally.  Those who deal daily with pain and need assistance will understand what I mean all too well.  

So much of me changed.  I am physically different in many ways, some of which, like the mastectomy, that will never be the same and some which I wouldn't want to return to normal.  With all these adjustments came serious looks at who I was and with that, an opportunity to make adjustments to those parts of me that weren't as becoming as I would have liked.  That part of self evaluation is the same for everyone and is never easy but when you are forced to adjust every part of your life, it becomes  paramount to your survival and more importantly, the survival of those around you.

On Sunday, Pastor Karl preached an excellent sermon on the difference of having joy and being happy.  Joy and happiness being two things that become convoluted in our thinking.  We tend to believe that in order to have joy, we must be happy but happiness changes with ebb and flow of each day yet joy is what we find from the Father.  Christ is the one who supplies the joy despite the unhappiness of daily pain, or loss of mobility or any other trial we face on a daily basis.  This was such an uplifting sermon that anyone struggling to find joy in the midst of unhappy circumstances, as I was, you really need to take the 45 minutes to listen and allow yourself to be encouraged.  http://www.gladtidingsnyc.com/services/recent_sermons   

The sun has finally peaked above the horizon and my pain is subsiding a bit so I am going to try to get some rest before the rest of the household is in full swing.  I am praying today sees everyone feeling a little better.  Despite having a bad day, I am grateful for each and every sunrise God gives me.  I have been blessed and even through this trial of illness has stretched my faith the breaking point at times, I know I will be restored one day.  I suppose that is where the joy kicks in…

May God Bless and Keep You in His Grace,