Monday, January 9, 2012

Looking Back At 2011

I'm not sure if it's just my general foggy memory or if it's yet another side effect of my chronic illness, but I can barely remember what I had for dinner yesterday. I definitely barely remember what happened in 2011. 

So I don't even really remember what I blogged about in 2011, much less which were my favorite posts. That's the challenge requested by Leslie of Getting Closer To Myself, who will host the next edition of the Patients For A Moment blog carnival. So here's my recap of the year that was.

Last January, in a post titled It's All About The Attitude -- Or Is It?, I wrote about how delighted I was about a New York Times article that cited studies showing that getting (and surviving) cancer were not affected by the patient's attitude. A kick-ass, conquer cancer attitude may help a patient deal emotionally with the treatments of the disease, but it won't raise that patient's likelihood of surviving it.

Also last January, I wrote a parenting post titled Judgement, about the snap judgments people make based on appearances, particularly when it comes to parents of young children. You can't tell from looking at people what they're dealing with. 

In March, I had the pleasure of hosting Patients For A Moment on the topic of guilty pleasures. That had to be one of the most fun topics, both to write about and to read everyone else's contributions! Actually, I was lucky enough to host PFAM twice last year, and I was also rather pleased with the edition I hosted in November on finding inspiration on how to pull oneself out of the dark places that chronic illnesses sometimes leave us. (Ooh, and while I'm writing about PFAM, here's a plug: I'm going to be hosting next month so please check back in early February to see my topic! And Leslie is still looking for more hosts for the now monthly blog carnival; check out the responsibilities here and drop her an email if you're interested. It's a wonderful opportunity to bring new readers to your blog and for you to get multiple viewpoints on topics that are close to your heart.)

In May, I came "out of the closet" and shared the news that I had been approved (two months earlier) for Social Security Disability. It's funny, I still have a sense of shame about being on SSDI, and it's not something I volunteer, even when asked if I'm working. Or why I'm not. I also have a bit of guilt, that somehow, by claiming benefits I earned, I'm contributing to the money issues our federal government is facing. I know it's somewhat irrational, but c'est la vie. I console myself by counting all the ways it's helpful to my family for me to be able to contribute financially however small an amount. It makes it possible for us to add enrichment activities to Ellie's life (she just started gymnastics last week, and, as you may remember, is learning to compete as an "artistic" roller skater {essentially doing the same things a figure skater does in ice skates}) as well as to pay for housecleaners once or twice a month to ease the burden on my husband. Most importantly, we once again have some pad in our budget; we weren't running up debt or even living paycheck to paycheck as many families dealing with disabilities caused by chronic illness, but I feared we were one disaster away from ending up in those black holes.

In October, I wrote about The Invisibility of Invisibility Chronic Illness, as it struck home, once again, that the only people who truly grok what it's like are those who are either walking the walk themselves or watching a close loved one walk it.

I'm a bit chagrined that it took me over four years to find out how useful a very common tool is for those of us taking many, many medications. Who knew there was a reason they have all those pill dispensers at every pharmacy? :) Ok, it wasn't an earth shattering post, but boy has my pill dispenser changed my life. And if I ever make it back to the dollar store, I'm going to follow my friend Mo's lead and buy three more so I only have to refill it once a month!

Although I have doubts that I've learned the lesson well enough to prevent it in the future, I finally recognized a trend in my life with chronic illness: I make poor choices when approaching and even when I've crossed the line to Too Much. Over and over again, not just in 2011 but since I started blogging in 2007, I keep writing about how days or weeks or even months didn't go the way I'd planned: The lesson I seem to be having trouble learning is to pay attention to my body and stop, or at least slow down, when it's clear that I've overextended myself energy wise or am headed in that direction. Instead, it's almost like I decide subconsciously that, "Ooh! I'm clearly headed for being bed- and/or couch-bound again, so I better try to get as many things crossed off my list as possible before that happens! Hurry up! Do more, because you don't know when you'll be able to do XYZ again!" And actually, I'm feeling the effects of having done just yesterday exactly what I wrote about in that excerpt. Sigh. 

Anyway, that's the year that was. Hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane thanks to Blogger's archives of Sick Momma. Meanwhile, be sure to visit Getting Closer To Myself on or after January 15 to see everyone else's contribution to the blog carnival! 
And to my fellow bloggers, the deadline is midnight Jan. 12 if you'd like to participate; see the call for submissions for details.

1 comment:

Sherril said...

Great post! Especially since I totally lost it during the move in keeping up with my favorite blogs. Thanks for the review.