Choosing Life or Death. Adaptation in Chronic Illness

choosing life or death

Choosing life or death. It has finally reached that point. But this isn’t how January is supposed to be.

choosing life or death

Warmth and coziness. Hot tea and sitting by my fire. These are the things I retreat to as I sit in my chair at the dialysis center. Except it only works for a moment or two. The bright lights and continual alarm beeping from the 25 or so machines interrupt incessantly.

January just became weird. Again. Instead of resting up from the holidays, or making New Year’s Resolutions- there are no long term plans here. Except not dying, going to mind numbing dialysis treatments. Staying alive.

It’s funny- I started out writing to explain that I wanted to feel more grounded. That I don’t think I can even think that far ahead to plan out a whole year. No way can I make resolutions for the next twelve months! But instead of feeling more grounded I am focusing on getting through a week…maybe a day at a time here.

Very short term, right?!?l

I have to get hold of this. I have to adjust. And as I go through this step by step, focusing on the here and now, I think I have discovered to finally love myself. I’ve never really felt it before. I thought I did but didn’t really “get it”. I knew I was facing this huge decision eventually, and I thought I understood the value of real self-care. But choosing life or death makes things crystal clear about what self love actually means.  Now I know and I can only hope that with these words I can convey to you the importance of self love. And that part of self love is allowing myself to be human.

Sometimes that means feeling the bad too.

It is perfectly OK to feel self pity, fear and anger and all kinds of negative emotions. I suppose I have to feel the lows in order to feel the highs.  It goes both ways.

But I know can’t stay there forever. For me, I am still right in the thick of it. I know I will eventually have to push through and pull myself out. In a way it’s sort of like swimming across a river and standing on the other side. But for now I have to hunker down and focus only on me and caring for myself. To get to treatment and stay alive. I’m going to wallow in a bit of self pity and sadness. And stay focused on taking the best possible care of myself that I can. That will play a huge impact on my treatment.

It’s all I can do right now.

It’s OK to think in the short term right now. Here and Now is what I have.

Once I get to a better place (it will come) then I can think of bigger things and start to pull myself out of this bad place.

But in the meantime I’m not going to criticize myself. I know that self pity can develop into a huge problem if it starts to take over your entire life; it is a bad place to live in psychologically. I also know that I need that sadness space right now, to live through it and feel it. To not stuff it down inside only to have it erupt into something worse.

For me getting through one week is a challenge and I really don’t feel I can embark on a new year of anything. So, if you’re just getting by day to day as I am be aware that sometimes we’re going to have these low points. Also be aware that without them the good times are just not as good.

In the meantime:choosing life or death

What the hell am I going to do to get through each day? And how in the world am I going to get out of this?

At first it I was in a panic. What was I going to do? How can I make this not happen? There is no way out. I’m trapped. In a way, I feel like I’m under house arrest. Forever.

It’s lovely to be home, but don’t go too far. You can’t or you will die.

OK, so I will stay.

What else am I going to do? On the one hand, I thank God for this “artificial kidney that lives outside my body”. I’d likely be dead in a month without it. And I’ll be brutally honest, I am just too chicken shit to die. There I said it. I have to find a way through.  So I started here:

After sifting through countless articles about getting through something difficult I found:

Therapists Spill: 14 Ways to Get Through Tough Times, 

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

There’s a lot in there that resonates with me. I highly recommend reading it. The techniques written here actually work.

In particular, she mentions to practice acceptance and to ask for help. Those are the two hardest things to do sometimes, aren’t they?

And here I am. I’ve already written a piece on changing your chronic illness plan, so why do I find this so hard? I prepared myself, but it didn’t really help. So it’s back to work I go then, new plan, life change. Again.

Just keep going with the motions day by day, and gradually, I will find happiness again. I know it’s still there, it never left, I just can’t really grasp it right now.

I will wait for this to pass. I will search for an opportunity to make my life whole again. They’re all around us, all the time. But it’s tough to grasp them when you feel so weak and beaten down.

But there’s a little spot inside of me that knows how to get through bad times, it’s just not quite ready to come out yet. But I know myself and I know I have it in me somewhere to make it work.

How to Go From Here

I have come to realize that I am still my own beautiful self. You may need time, just like me, to process the things that are swirling in your head. And as you work through it your own beautiful self can re-emerge.Click To Tweet Sometimes we have to wait. Sometimes we have to ask for help. But in the end, it will pass.

Live day by day. Keep a tiny notion of the good future in your mind and it will soon grow into reality. And you will find yourself in a better spot.

You don’t ever have to lose your happiness inside, sometimes you just have to move things around a little to balance out the negativity. Happiness is there, you can find it.

And when it’s good again, just imagine how exceptionally good it will feel.!!



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