Those of you who do not have lupus or any other chronic illness probably read the title of today's post and are ready to give me a pep talk. Those that do, however, are already nodding their heads in recognition. No, this is not about positive self–help–thinking–optimistically–etc. It's about coming to a point where an activity is no longer possible for a patient. Note that I say possible; we are talking about being physically capable of performing whatever activity is in question.
This is one of the harder things a lupus patient has to do, and any time we do admit defeat we do so hoping and praying that it's a temporary setback. We also mourn for every activity we can no longer complete. It's been a while since I've seen “The Simpsons'” episode about the multiple steps of grieving, but I can tell you there's a lot of bargaining, denial, anger, etc. that goes on every time another activity is taken away from us.
For those of you who still aren't quite sure what I'm talking about, I offer the following examples of times when I have personally had to accept defeat:
- Permanent Handicapped License Plates: now to anyone else, getting permanent handicap license plates is a major win. It means, after all, that you can park pretty much wherever you want without getting a ticket. Some places with valet parking will offer the service for free if you have handicapped license plates. Universities can't charge you to park on campus. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Well… yes, but by filling in the forms and getting my doctor to fill in his, I was admitting that I am no longer capable of walking across a sunny parking lot. More than that, I was admitting that I am unlikely to be able to do so in the foreseeable future. These are, after all, permanent.
- Getting a Cane: this one's probably pretty obvious. Walking with a cane is something we associate with age. I was really hoping to at least hold off until my thirtieth birthday before getting a cane, but that was not to be. What forced me to admit defeat was the fact that I kept falling down. You can only fall so many times because of vertigo before you really hurt yourself, and I knew it. But I don't have to like it.
- Buying a "Gentle Yoga" DVD: I used to do power yoga. I used to run every morning. I used to be a training black belt. But that was twenty or 30 pounds of muscle ago. Yesterday I fell down because I wasn't strong enough to stand up from a sitting position. Having to start out with basic “peace and tranquility” style yoga is to me a slap in the face with how much I've lost over the past two years.
Note: My wrists are still not operational, so please forgive any voice recognition software–mediated typos that I missed!
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