I haven’t blogged much lately. This is where you tell me “I KNOW! I’ve missed reading you!” That’s OK, I know you feel that way even if you don’t know it yet. I’ve missed you too. And this is where you ask where on earth I’ve been. OK fine, I’ll tell you. I haven’t fallen off the edge of a roof as the quote above alludes to. I just like the quote, and I suppose I’m teetering on the edge of a metaphorical roof. I’ve been busier than busy. One of my super powers is constant movement. Apparently I’ve missed the memo on Lazy Summers.
The memo that I have received is that we are given ample opportunity to learn each lesson in life until well, we learn it. Sometimes I can be a slow learner. I thought I had balanced my life fairly well–I stopped caring about being prompt, about making sure the house (or children) were always clean, about feeling the need to volunteer. Apparently God, or a Higher Power, or the Universe, or Life, or Whatever/Whomever you believe in, thinks I haven’t learned to be Still and Just Be.
The past couple weeks I’ve been sidelined with Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS), or a mysterious Headache Syndrome. Six doctors cannot agree on what I have, or how to treat it. What I do know is the headaches are debilitating and unrelenting, and the accompanying nausea, stomach pain, fatigue and occasional vomiting have rendered me useless. And very, very irritable.
The brain injury specialists believe this is PCS brought on by the rotary head movement and breathing required with freestyle swimming. That it has messed with my vestibular system and my concussion symptoms are back. They suggest I go back to full brain rest (no reading, no computer or TV, no texting, no exercise) to let the brain repair again and gradually return to normal life. The neurologist has given me a stack of prescriptions and a follow-up appointment.
In the end, I’ll either find out what was wrong, or I won’t. What really matters now is that I can’t do much. (Yes, I’m well aware I shouldn’t be blogging either, but I am not well-known for my compliance) I can barely power through the day at work. I can’t exercise at all. I don’t have the mental capacity or energy to cook or clean. I shuttle the children to where they need to be, oftentimes late. That’s about all I can do right now.
I used to be a really healthy person. This past year I’ve been hit with recurrent diverticulitis, a chronic pinched nerve, the concussion, and now this. I’ve struggled with the limitations on my life as I coped with each issue. OK, struggled isn’t the right word. I’ve fought being told I need to slow down. Slow learner, I am.
Part of my struggle with these random health issues has been that the past several years, I’ve learned to not let my fears control me. I’ve learned I can do anything. And I did do anything and everything. And oh, the freedom and excitement and empowerment and pride and joy that came from that. Now I’ve hit a wall this year and it’s all crumbling and crashing down around me–the world is screaming to me that in fact I cannot do anything and everything. I’m well aware it’s the knowledge and belief that I can do anything that matters more than the actual behaviors of doing it. I’m processing it all. I’m trying to figure out how to be more Still and Just Be, while feeding my soul and being true to myself. And most importantly, being kind to myself.
I trust the brain injury specialists more than the neurologist right now. The neurologist has given me several medications to dull the pain and warned me that this may be something I have to cope with for the rest of my life. The brain injury specialists have told me to essentially slow down, and if I do, chances are good I can resume a normal life again. This latter treatment plan resonates with me. I don’t want to go through the rest of my life dulling pain. I’ve learned that’s not really living. I WANT to feel the pain because that’s how I can also fully feel the joy. I know I need to slow down enough to live through the pain. I understand now that the brain injury specialists’ treatment plan is really the lesson I need to embrace in life regardless of what else they discover medically about my brain and etiology of the headaches.
Being still allows me to be thoughtful and mindful instead of reactive. Being still allows me to connect with people with kindness and empathy. Being still allows me to be. And that’s the ultimate treatment goal.