Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lies I choose to believe

My friend Jim once told me, "There are lies that I choose to believe, even though I know they're not true, because it makes me a better person when I believe them." I can totally understand that. Yesterday, I had a BIG wall of denial come crashing down. I've been telling myself that my feet are just cold and that I don't want to wear socks because that will make my feet hurt. But yesterday I had to have neurological testing. I was being stuck with a sharp pin and I couldn't feel it. My feet aren't just cold. They're numb. My nerves are dying. The technical term I was given is small fiber neuropathy. And it's slowly, progressively getting worse. There's nothing we can do about it and only a little more we can do to manage the symptoms. This is an obstacle we can't overcome. What makes me a better person is to forget about it.

I act responsibly by knowing my limits and carrying emergency supplies. But after that, I don't let it come into my brain. If I think about the pain that is going to make me stop working on a painting, I won't start painting in the first place. If I worry about the inevitable pain I'm going to get when I'm out walking around, I won't leave the house. At all. It's got to be something big enough and important enough to make me go. And I'll be honest, there have been times when it was only because the current situation I was in was so unbearable that I was able to change anything. I *hate* going to the ER. But I know from experience once my pain hits a certain point, there's nothing at home I can do to stop it, and there's a reasonable chance it could trigger devastating pain that will last for years. It's happened before. But I can't think about that all the time or I wouldn't do anything.

I'm never going to get better. And I'm going to slowly lose my abilities and senses as time goes on, except when the pain decides to flare. Then I'll be feeling all too much. So what? I wasn't going to be young forever either. Everyone's skills decline over time. Mine just sooner than most. But not as bad as some others, either, so there's that.

It does me no good to remember on a daily basis that I'm losing ground. I'm never going to not lose ground. It's all downhill from here, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. So what else is on the menu? We're all going to die too, but we don't going around wailing about it. Right now I can still walk and type, drive well enough to see and hear well enough to not require hearing aids. I'll work with what I've got for as long as I can and deal with the rest of it when it gets here. Worrying about it now does me no good.

Still, yesterday was filled with tears as the reality of just how much nerve sensation I've lost became apparent. I didn't know it was that bad. But it shows how successful I've been despite the loss if I haven't been able to notice the deterioration. The lie that everything was okay allowed me to function even though everything was not okay. I'm okay with that lie.

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