Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Evolution: How Being a Patient Has Changed Me

Today's topic is "Evolution. Write about how being a patient or caregiver has changed you. How have your goals changed? Have your values changed?"

There are so many things that come to mind for this topic. I have changed a lot, since I started living with chronic debilitating pain 5-years ago. I've written quite a lot on the topic of change... here's one that jumps out in my mind:  Change: Life Since the Accident (Jan 6).

Slowing down
I've learned (and am still learning) to slow down. It hasn't been easy, as I was always on the go, before my accident. I planned nearly every hour of my day... man, was I a planner! But, that doesn't work for me now. I have to be mindful of my body's limitations in a way that I never did before. Otherwise, my body may just shut down and/or I later pay a very high price. So, I find my life is a much slower pace than most others, but that's what I need.

Living in the present
I'm learning more and more to simply live in the present moment. It's harder for me to do at some times than others, but I'm much better at doing it than I used to... I still have a way to go, though. When I'm having good moments, I do my best to cherish and enjoy them, regardless of how long they last. When I'm having very painful moments, I do my best to tend to my body and turn my focus on God - thanking Him for what I have, asking for His peace through the storm, praying for others who are experiencing any pain, etc.

Depending on others
I grew up to be an independent woman, and I've always taken pride in that. So, being thrust into a position of truly needing to depend on others was a huge (undesired) lesson in humility, among other things. I still have difficulty with asking for help, but I'm slowly becoming more comfortable with asking for and accepting assistance from others. I think it's an important lesson for everyone - not to depend on others for everything, but to be able to ask for and accept help when needed.
* There's a blog post that I started almost 2.5 years ago regarding independence / dependence... I think I'll work on finishing and posting that in the next few days. 

I find myself filled with gratitude in a different way than I was before. My list of things I'm grateful for includes even the simplest of things that I used to just take for granted. And, as humbling as that can sometimes be, it keeps me focused on the things, big and small, that God has blessed me with.

I have changed
I've become more focused on my priorities, stronger in my faith, more outspoken in health matters (especially concerning justice for those with disabilities), more understanding of others, and more forgiving of myself and others.

Goals have changed
My goals have changed. Sometimes I feel like a failure because I don't have my 5- or 10- (and so on) year plan on the tip of my tongue. My goals aren't SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound), like I was trained to believe is necessary. Perhaps it is necessary, but I don't feel a specific drive or calling of something to do in my life right now. And, while that sometimes makes me extremely anxious and like something must be wrong with me, I'm doing my best to trust that God has a plan for me.

Overall, even though I don't have SMART goals, I do feel more focused on a clear life purpose: to faithfully follow God, allowing Him to work in and through me wherever I am and however He desires. Now, that's not to say that I don't struggle along the way. I don't have any clue what I'm supposed to be doing with my life, but I'm doing my best to root myself in the One who does know.

This post was written as part of the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM). Other bloggers will share their posts on this FB page.

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