Thursday, July 9, 2009

Is It Possible To Get a Pre-Illness Life Back?

There's a great post over at Duncan Cross about how even though he's in remission, he's still miles away from re-capturing his pre-flare life.

He concludes:
"...[E]ven though I am technically in “remission”, it’s continually amazing to me how much my illness continues to affect my life. Everyone says I look so much better, but I still don’t feel whole. There is still something missing. And finding that something - putting my life back together - sometimes feels like it might take forever.

And that got me thinking -- even if I wake up tomorrow feeling perfectly healthy, with tons of energy, no pain, etc., there's still no way to go back to 2006.

I don't really count it as part of my illness, but I was in a car accident in August 2006 that left me with chronic back and neck pain. I've got a neurosurgeon who'd love to operate and "fix" me right up, but first I postponed it because I couldn't figure out who would take care of my then 20-month-old daughter and I was sure there was no money for daycare. Less than a year later, the mystery illness hit, and while I continued taking care of Ellie for awhile, it became obvious I couldn't when I went into the hospital two years ago today. And you know what? When there's absolutely no choice whatsoever, you find money for daycare, even if it means skimping a bit on things like retirement savings. Sigh.

Before that car accident, I was reasonably healthy. I had joined a gym a few months prior to it and had started a regular workout routine that I was so proud of because it was the first time in my life I found exercise enjoyable. I had joined MOMS Club and Ellie and I had lots of activities through that group or through another playgroup we were in. Ellie was starting to communicate fairly well and was really getting to be a lot of fun. And we were even trying to expand our family. (I miscarried two days after the accident.)

And then the car accident left me struggling to do basic things like lift Ellie to put her in her car seat or to change her diaper. I couldn't sit on the floor with her to play because I needed back support or my pain would spike. Walking became painful and chasing after a not-quite-2-year-old was excruciating so I cut way back on park dates. The next 10 months were not fun in so many ways, and I thought they were really hard and painful both emotionally and physically. And then I got sick and things went spiraling downhill from there.

We've adapted as a family to my being sick. I'm blessed with an amazingly supportive husband, who hopes and prays as hard as I do that the status quo isn't permanent.

But when I think about all I've missed in the past two plus years, it overwhelms me. Even if my mystery illness disappears as quickly as it started, I'll never get those two years back as Ellie grew from a toddler to a preschooler. I didn't expect to be on the sidelines of Ellie's life until she at least was in elementary school. Definitely not starting when she was 2-and-a-half.

Don't get me wrong -- I'd still take perfect (or even just decent) health. But thinking about what it would be like when/if I do put this illness behind me made me realize that I can't go back. Things have moved on while I was distracted with all these doctor appointments and medical tests. Ellie's grown and matured and, as her teacher says, bloomed while I've been down for the count.

So all I can do is look forward to putting this illness behind me someday. And I hope that someday is soon.


Carla said...

Oh Aviva, I so hope you are putting it behind you very, very soon as well.

Aviva said...

Aw, thanks Carla! For you and me both!!

Lisa (Hyperchondria) said...

I wish you speedy answers, Aviva!

Aviva said...

Thanks, Lisa -- although I fear it's been too long to qualify as speedy. But speed is relative, right? I just need to try to be as optimistic as you!! :-)