I think I’m coming to terms with being ill now. I finally got confirmed as having POTS on April 9th. (Colleen- how was your prom? I thought of you!) It was a massive relief after all the years of fighting to be believed.
Despite the fact I’ve always suspected I was ill, I still find myself feeling sad now that I know I am- but I think I am coming to terms with it more now. I am looking for the positives in it- something I always (thankfully) tend to do when faced with adversity. I am thankful for the new friends I have made and continue to make. I am thankful for the opportunity to use my hobby of writing and my determination to reach out to and inspire others.
I still do ‘normal’ things but I never feel entirely ‘normal’ because I am always dealing with symptoms to some degree. But- that’s okay. I won’t let those symptoms rob me of my life. I’ll keep living it, and be kind to myself/my body by resting and taking it easy as much as I can- but I’m not going to turn down invites to things. Even when they scare me just a bit because I don’t know if I’ll be ‘well enough’. Even if afterwards I ache and feel exhausted. Because those are just symptoms- and at least I am living.
My boyfriend keeps asking me to go cycling with him, and the very idea of this terrifies me. TERRIFIES me! Because, the last time I did it, before I knew I had tachycardia, I found it soooo difficult. I was so slow that a child approximately 7 years old on a little BMX overtook me. Every muscle in my body ached and my heart was going crazy. But you know what? I cycled FOURTEEN MILES. Even though it hurt like hell and even though I was slow as a snail. The reason? I refused to admit defeat. I refused to give in, so I just pedalled- through the pain, through the tachycardia, through the rain and the cold and the frustration. I hated every minute, I felt like shit afterwards, but I still did it.
I know not everyone can do things like that and I’m not advocating pushing yourself further than your capabilities, but what I am all for is not giving in. We all have limitations, but there are ways we can get around them even if we can’t transcend them.
I don’t really want to get back on a bike, because it was so unpleasant. But a stubborn, fighting part of me is saying- try it just once more. A shorter, easier ride (I didn’t even mention how bumpy 7 miles of this ride was!!) on a nice day in warm sunshine- you might just surprise yourself.
So, maybe I will. If I hate even that, maybe then I’ll sell my bike. But if I can cycle 14 miles in the rain on stony hard ground and still come out the other end okay, then I can go on a short bike ride on a nice day and see if it isn’t nicer. At least I’ll be strengthening my calf muscles!
So, I guess what I am saying is yes, I may be ill but I have an attitude. Being ill may slow me down, but it won’t stop me. I’ll be like the snail, slow, lugging around my ‘shell’ (whatever symptoms I may be dealing with at the time) but still living my life- and in the meantime, perhaps I’ll leave a pretty silver trail in my wake. I might not be able to ‘blaze a trail’ but I’m content to just live my life at the pace that feels right for me, and those that take the time to really notice will see my little silvery trail and smile.
Every little thing makes a difference. You might not feel like it does or think that it does, but it does.
So yes, I’ve come to terms with being ill because I’ve made my decision. An illness I may have, but I also have a LIFE and a determined, fun free spirit. So no matter what, I am living my life to the full.
Even if it does mean getting on a bike again one day…