Life After Illness. You have made it through the illness that threatened to take your life. Now what? Did anyone tell you to beware of depression setting in. Did they tell you life as you once knew it is over? Did they tell you how to survive this new chapter in your life? Probably not. They didn't tell me or even give me a clue. I will lead you through the many ups and downs that happened to me after my life-threatening illness and how I have survived and how you can too!
Memorial Day. A day for what? Hot dogs and parades? Honoring those who fought and died for our freedom. How free does a person with illness feel? I can tell you from personal experience that once you have suffered a life-threatening, catastrophic illness your life is forever changed but there is always hope. Hope that you will come to an understanding of your life as it is now. You will put the past in its place and strive to enjoy your life as it is now. The past should not be longed for. It should be what has made you who you are today. If your past is as mine was then you have some work to do to overcome the crap you once endured as a child, even as a young adult.
Let go of the past and enjoy today. Yes even in illness you can enjoy your life as it is. As I have said and say a lot, I have a multitude of limitations in my life since the AVM hemorrhage in my brain that almost certainly should have taken my life but by God’s grace it didn’t.
Even if there are no parades, hot dogs or even family today life is still worth living. Someone has stood the front line on foreign soil and at times domestic soil so you can be free. In your pain and the distress of illness you can still be thankful for your life. You don’t believe me? I am living proof it can be done!
I am still having slight headaches and pressure in my head but I’m better. I can get up and move. I can accomplish something on a daily basis. My thought process is better and this makes my outlook on life better.
My husband once told me I should write about depression. I wondered about that a lot. Now that I have taken to blogging this is the place to write about depression. I have been in the dark pit of depression. It will sneak up on you. It will cause you to do and say things you never in your right mind would. It rips your life and that of your family apart. My experience with depression was horrible. It lead me to suicidal thoughts. Check my past posts for more of my story of depression.
I can’t say it often enough. If you think you are depressed seek help. Don’t wait! Seek help to beat down this terrible depression or it will latch onto you and destroy you. Do not buy into the lie that life would be better for your loved ones without the burden of you. It’s a lie, a bald faced lie. Do not entertain one second of it in your thoughts! Cast it out. Think other thoughts. Positive thoughts. Think about what you can do, not what you can’t do.
I thought I lost a business I had worked at for ten years. I thought I had lost so many things. Did I really lose them. I came to learn that God was using a horrible situation to clear the way in my life for something new and better for me. He will do it for you too. All you need to do is seek Him and ask for help.
I hope you are getting along in your new life with illness. It has it’s ups and downs for sure. Good days and bad days. Enjoy the good days! If you are like me you don’t know how many days you have ahead of you life will take on new meaning!
Illness has a way of rearing it’s ugly head when you least expect it. July 2, 2017 is the 21st anniversary of my craniotomy! I think that’s awesome! For the past 4 years I haven’t had any really terrible problems, just the usual stuff, like a cold, IBS problems and of course the daily visual, balance and memory issues connected with brain trauma.
I have had headaches for three days now. I had an “episode” three days ago. My husband and I were out doing some shopping and suddenly out of nowhere I was having horrible pains in my head, pressure in my head, nausea and an overwhelming need to be in a dark quiet place. Our plans for the rest of the day changed and we headed home. My husband asked the usual questions, Do you want to go to the Drs. or to the hospital? I knew he wanted to help me but I’d been told by more than one Dr. that there is nothing they can do for me. I tried to answer him through the pain raging in my head that I just wanted to go home. There was nothing a Dr. could do to help me.
Once home I slept for awhile. Then slept some more. It was hours before I wanted anything to eat. Three days later and the headaches continue. I pray they will go away soon. Sometimes a trip to my chiropractor helps. I look at this as a set back. It isn’t the end, not yet. I have lots more to do and I will be here until I finish what God has set before me!
Life is an awesome journey. No matter what you are going through, it is temporary.
Another Mother’s Day! Twenty-one years ago I should have died. They told me so. The doctors did. What about you? Are you blessed as I am to be alive for another Mother’s Day? Celebrate! Even while enduring the ravages of painful illness you can celebrate Mother’s Day. If you woke up this morning, it’s a good day. I am thankful for every day that I wake up to face another day no matter what it brings.
Now to chat about children and Mother’s Day. I always thought my husband and I would have a large family but we didn’t. I came from a large family of eight, six kids and two parents. I grew up on and around farms for most of my childhood. It was a lot of work and I did not always enjoy it. God gave me a lot of children though. He has a way of turning everything into something good. I started a family based home daycare and up until illness struck my life. I had many children on a daily basis and we had fun! Children do not need to be born to you, they can be nurtured and loved by you. God brings into you life people (children), people who you need and who need you.
For most of my adult life, until a life-threatening illness struck me, I took care of everyone else around me. Illness changes a person’s life like nothing else I have encountered. Before illness I helped feed and clothe people while working with the community food pantry and clothing closet. I became a volunteer for the American Red Cross in our area, helping victims of fire disasters. For many years I took care of our churches card ministry, sending out cards with a personal note for a wide variety of occasions. I took care of my family, which meant making sure they had everything they needed. I even began a home based family day care business that was very successful for ten years. Life was full. Then illness struck me one day and life was changed forever.
Once life changes due to illness a person must learn to adapt. To be good to themselves. Times have changed and at times, in certain situations, you must put yourself first. See to your needs because even though you are dealing with illness or its limitations the people in your life need you with them. You may not be able to walk, drive a car, cook, talk or the many other results of an illness. Your loved ones still need you. A simple smile from you can light up the day!
So do not mourn the past, share it when needed. The past is just that the past. It has it’s place in your life but do not dwell on it. Some of my past makes me sad, so I don’t dwell on it. I have all I can do to get through my days without dragging all of my baggage around with me. I rest when I need to. You do the same. Become determined to take the moments of life and smile through the pain of illness. Be good to yourself today and every day!
What are your pieces of life? Moments in time? Minutes make an hour. Hours make a day. Days make a week. Weeks make months. Months make years. Years make a lifetime. Within a lifetime are the pieces of your life. The good and the bad. Like a puzzle they are pieced together to complete a picture of your life.
If your life is like mine the pieces tell the story of illness. It tells how one minute I was feeling fine and the next I was not. It tells how within the hour I was in a hospital fighting for my life. The next day I remember nothing. Within the week I was transferred to a larger city hospital with months of treatment looming ahead. The pieces tell of how years later I still struggle with daily limitations but I am alive. The doctors said I should be dead. People don’t usually survive an AVM hemorrhage, a brain bleed.
Take stock of the pieces of life, your life. Do not discount or throw away life because you do not like the pieces. The puzzle is not yet finished, don’t give up and let life slip away from you. I once considered giving up on life. I thought my family would be better off without me. I was wrong. So wrong. I am thankful to still be alive. Thankful God saved me from suicide that horrible day I considered it.
Since that day I take stock of my life everyday. I have enjoyed my grandboys, my family, I have seen weddings, funerals, baptism’s, graduations, picnics, 41 years of days with my husband. I would have missed so much! I strive to help others understand the pain of suicide.
The pain of illness can distort the pieces of life. It can make them ugly and hurtful. Place your trust in God and He will see you through the pieces of life to completion.
Life truly does keep moving. It does not stop because you have an illness.
I remember sitting and looking out the window shortly after my initial surgery, after I arrived home. Cars were driving by, trucks carrying all types of items traveled by, school buses carrying children to and from school, kids riding their bicycles rode past my window, people walking their dogs or just out for an evening stroll moved past my window. I watched it all move by while I sat and watched because that’s all I could do. A life-threatening illness the doctors called it. An AVM hemorrhage in my brain almost took my life. It would be a very long and difficult road to recovery. It has been 21 years and I am still in recovery.
Most people think of recovery as temporary, a short period of time. While this can be true, I believe that once someone has face a life-threatening or catastrophic illness recovery takes on a meaning all it’s own. A person learns to live with the results left by the ravages of illness. They learn to find new ways of coping with life. They must learn to be good to themselves. To rest when need be. To laugh. To enjoy the blessings that come along. Yes there will still be bad days and days filled with pain. Days of doctors appointments, blood work and tests. Learn to enjoy the good in life and not focus on the bad. Lift your head and smile. Love those who make your life a bit easier.
Join in life as best you can. Life will not stop for you.