This year, I've had three surgeries in six months...I keep repeating that to myself in my head. Eight weeks of missed work, cancelled lunches with friends and family, yet another event to add to the medical history. I recently went to the ER because of post operative chest pain (I was fine), and explaining my medical history felt like recounting the last season of Game of Thrones. "Man, you've been through the ringer!"
Tell me about it.
When I list out everything that has happened since my first surgery in 2012, I get a little overwhelmed. Have I really been through that much? A surgery, a round of Lupron, bone density loss, hair loss, starting trying to get pregnant, a round of Clomid, a ruptured endometrioma, taking medical leave from graduate school, an excision surgery, a miscarriage, going back to school, another two endometriomas, a blocked ureter and resulting cystoscopy, another excision (with surprise bowel resection), a cholecystectomy...
It's enough to keep anyone up at night. Is this real life? Is this reality? Someone wake me up.
But no...I'm already awake. Over the past week, I've struggled with insomnia. As often happens during my recoveries, my sleep schedule became very skewed. At the worst, I went to bed at 7am and slept until 4pm. I felt like I was becoming an owl. The inactivity and inability to enjoy the things that usually keep me busy (working as a nanny, sewing in my free time, getting out and about to run errands and spend time with my husband) was driving me batty. But I realized what I needed.
I needed to recharge. I needed to remind myself that the past does not define who I am. It doesn't matter how many tough things that happen in life...tomorrow is a new day. Yeah, a lot has happened in the past two years. Yes, it IS a lot to deal with, and I depend on my support systems to help me get through it. I do get really down sometimes. That doesn't mean that it will be like this forever. My life is wonderful, despite my chronic illness. Those days were tough, and I'm still recovering from my surgery. Heck, I'm still struggling with adenomyosis, infertility, and pelvic floor dysfunction, but I also have an amazing, supportive husband, a job that makes me happy, hobbies that give me a sense of accomplishment, and a whole lot of people who support me.
So when I was still awake at 3am on Sunday morning, I embraced it. My husband and I jumped in the car, drove 2.5 hours to the Kancamagus Highway, and did something we love to do together: have an adventure!
I reconnected with my husband by getting out and enjoying a beautiful sunrise and fall foliage. For the day, I forgot about my problems (even though I still needed a pain pill for mind numbing cramps). They didn't go away, but the next time I'm stuck in bed, stewing on whatever happened again, I have these amazing photos to remember that my life is amazing. Challenging, yes...but I am blessed. Because I'm living with a chronic illness, I know I'm going to have tough days. However, I try to remember that tomorrow is a new day...the sun will still rise, and I will have another day to keep looking for ways to relieve the pain and enjoy myself.
And I encourage you to as well. Do something today that makes you happy. Take some pictures, document it, and when things get overwhelming, look back through your photos and remember...
Today was tough, but each morning the sun rises bringing the hope of a new day.