On my most trying of days. On the days I swear I can’t walk another inch, when I’m sure it’s hopeless and I can’t see the point in fighting anymore, I lie awake in bed and ruminate on this thought:
So far, in over 30 years of life and 17 months since being diagnosed with Seronegative arthritis, I still have a 100% success rate of surviving.
It’s not to say that “surviving” and “living” are the same thing, but I CAN survive. I have only a chance, a hope, no matter how miniscule, of having a life.
I recently had to give up what little work I was doing from home. There simply aren’t enough spoons in the day to do both. Surviving consists of finding the energy to shower and cook meals. I can do light cleaning, fold laundry and walk the dogs before my body gives up on me.
Living looks like a warm spring day in seattle as the cherry blossoms bloom. It’s a leisurely stroll with the dogs on a trail through one of our parks. It’s laughing and eating and enjoying time with friends without worry that someone will have to take me home early.
I do not live. I survive. I do the basic activities of daily living required, plus or minus a shower depending on my energy, my pain, and my psyche.
Chronic pain breaks down that tough external, load bearing wall that helps you mentally stay strong. It breaks your will, makes you want to give up. It’s not a life that I ever wanted, or that anyone would choose.
My husband has watched someone he loves crumble and break and lose her faith that things will work out. He watched me lose faith in humanity, in love, in friendship, and in the universe in general.
But, when I’m in bed for the 30th hour, alone, lonely, sad, broken emotionally and physically, i cling to the only thing that gets me through.
I have a 100% survival rate.
I have felt dead, I have felt broken, I have felt like I was on the precipe and the gentle breeze was going to nudge me over. But, no matter how bad it has gotten, no matter how much I have wished the pain would stop by ANY means possible, I always wake up the next day, even if I didn’t want to.
To me it is proof of the spirit human’s posses. That no matter what, you can survive, even if you aren’t really living.
Living comes later. Living comes when you find that magic balance your doctors and fellow spoonies say is out there. Living comes after you have survived.
So I ask you, even when it hurts, even when you want to give up, even when you lose the will to fight: survive.
Your survial rate is also 100%. And that is something worth remembering.