Thursday, September 9, 2010

Keepin' it real

Last night I had a...what was it? A hissy fit? Pity party? Break down?

The physical symptoms were not far outside normal. A bit more stomach discomfort than usual with some added shoulder pain. No biggee. No biggee surely with someone with my history. But I lost it. I gave into it. Partly because I thought the tears might provide some relief from the pain in my shoulders and the tightness in my stomach but, more so, because I was just "over it." Some of it was that tiny fear that, no matter how long I've been post transplant, still lingers and whispers "maybe this is something serious marking the beginning of the end."

My quality of life is so much better with these beautiful lungs and yet, there are other nags. Not as dramatic or easy to see as being short of breath but they are, in some ways, nearly as constant. Most of the time I eat, I feel sick. I work against fatigue all day long, like trudging through a swamp. As I get older the body creaks and whines more after what was once meaningless tasks, like carting baggage through the airport.

Most days I do what all chronically ill people can do, put on my horse blinders, ignore the pains and nagging nausea and go about business. There is the internal sensor that watches for signals that could be potentially dangerous while filtering out the usual noise of my body's normal level of discomfort.

Usually the horse blinders are so firmly fixed, I forget there are they. My struggle for energy, or even post-meal nausea, doesn't register on any important conscious level. Even if I have to lie down until the nausea passes, I certainly don't CRY about it or feel particularly sorry for myself. Usually. So what happened last night? Why the sudden dam break?

I guess sometimes the noise needs to be heard. All of that noise registers somewhere it can only be ignored for so long. Sometimes, I think I have to give myself that moment of what? Self pity? Self compassion, perhaps. Because as lucky as I am, as healthy as I appear, there is still a struggle there. As much as I breeze past this noise, my ears still hear the whining and the whirling. As much as I wish it did not exist, it does. And so, there is a real need to give in once and awhile and hold myself close, as if rocking a baby while repeating "you're ok, you're ok, let it out now."

Last night, the dam broke. Tears come to my eyes as I write this, even the next day. Holes in the structure still remain, it appears. Sometimes, it gets old and we feel tired. Some days the noise is louder than our fingers-in-the-ear trick can protect us from and our feet can not outrun it. As lucky as I am, I am keepin' it real and letting you know, sometimes it can be hard too.

Today, the dam is in repair and my soul feels refreshed for the momentary breakdown. Self-compassion. I needed that. Thank you noise, I appreciate your persistence. Thank you horse blinders, I need you too. It's all a beautiful dance. Just have to keep it real.


Stacey said...

I broke down the other day too. The tears just flowed and flowed. I felt weak, while everyone else was marveling at how strong I appear. Quite a dance, indeed. I think you've earned those tears... You've earned a few days of self-pity... Thank goodness for those blinders that help up make it through each day!

Linda said...

Self Compassion. I don't think I have ever heard that expression, but it is perfect. Thank you for your eloquence and praying you feel better. You deserve all the best.

Linda in Louisiana
Mother of Mandy (with the angels) Kyle, Hunter and Brady wo/cf and Jamie 24 yom w/cf

Kathryn said...

Well said Tiffany. Self-compassion.

Jay Hudson said...

It's tough keeping it real,Tiffany!
I vacillate between hope and despair.
I'm on the heart transplant list at Duke,but I am wary that Medicare wants me to die so they don't pay for it.I don't look on it as a "pity party" so much as realism.
The medical people have been wonderful in giving me hope,but,but.but...just like a writer who procrastinates, I have become jaded.I believe in Magic. I mean, Oz has to be real, doesn't it? Jay Hudson