Living with a disability is not easy. Many of us here know that. Be it something people can see (crutches, wheelchair, a body part that looks different) or something that is “invisible”. I have both. On the days when I need my cane, my back brace, my ankle brace, whatever, I tend to stay home.
I have a handicap sticker, and I usually try and park in the handicap spot (because I know I’ll probably be thankful later). Most times when I get out of my car, I look just as able as the next gal. That actually makes it harder on me; I get looks, stares, and glares. Not from the other people parking in the handicap spots, many of them ‘get it’, but from the next normal looking person parking in a regular spot. Lucky for them (smile) they haven’t said anything yet… but I do get the looks. Small things (like that) make living with an invisible illness just all that more draining on my day.
I added a new signature by-line. It says “Got Spoons?” and it links to a wonderful piece written by a gal named Christine. The link takes you to an essay titled “The Spoon Theory” on www.butyoudontlooksick.com. It wasn’t written by yours truly, but it does a wonderful job of explaining what it’s like to live with a disability. I think it applies to a lot of us- especially those with autoimmune disorders and the like. Christine has Lupus. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia (coupled with degenerative arthritis-which is causing the discs in my back and neck to deteriorate and herinate, Myofacial Pain Syndrome, early stages of Osteoarthritis, and Spinal Stenosis) The medicines I have to take, have caused other problems (Migraines, Reflux, Cardiomyopathy, sleep problems, and some kind of growth on my thyroid) It’s a ...... My doctor wants me to go to the Mayo Clinic and find out what’s up. Me? I’m tired of trying to find out what’s wrong, and why. I’ve decided to accept it, and am now trying to best adapt my life.
SIMPLIFY. There is a plaque hanging in my kitchen, with the immortal words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” I am reminded of that everyday. I HAVE to live by those words. Yesterday I overextended myself, I volunteered at the school “Field Day”. It’s an all day event, lots of races, relays, and track. The kids love it, but it’s exhausting even for a normal person. So today I am paying the price, and add to that, I broke my toe in the morning while rushing to get to the school! Of course my medicine masked the initial pain, and it wasn’t until half way through the day, that I realized I really had broken it.
Today my body feels as broken as my toe. I am forced to sit here and contemplate, reflect, and take a breath. It’s not easy living within limitations, but it’s sometimes a blessing in disguise. I have more compassion; I am more accepting of what comes along than I used to be. I understand that “things happen” that are out of our control. And I can truly feel blessed when they go the right way. I see more sunshine in the sky, and some days it shines so bright, it makes it all alright. I live for those days, and in those days I truly live.
So if you happen to be a “normal” person, without restrictions on your health, I ask you pause for a moment. If you see someone park in a handicap spot, and they look fine, remember that they might just be having a really good day and need that spot, to keep that moment just a little bit longer.
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