Nobody likes a setback. I’ve learned that downtime gives us more time to think, which sometimes can be to our benefit and other times not. I find it interesting the thoughts that sporadically cross our minds. I had the thought the other day that I may never be able to run again. Not that this is a big deal for me, but the thought did cross my mind. When I see big open fields or mountains, I envision myself skipping around freely or wanting to climb to the summit. Those days may be gone. However, there are plenty of other things I can do and it is important for us to focus on those aspects in life.
I’ve been dealing with a major muscular back flare-up for the past week. When it first started, I was having a lot of trouble moving and walking. I have had to lay flat, ice, heat, stretch, and rest a lot to try and relax my muscles. My patience has been tested at times, but I know if I don’t listen to my body it will only get worse. It has been one year and four months since my back surgeries for my disk herniation, and I still deal with daily pain and these episodes that put me out of commission. Just like most things in life, we want to connect the dots and we want answers and explanations. Sometimes we have to realize things just happen and we must deal with them.
I’m fortunate to walk this journey, hand-in-hand, with a remarkable man: my husband, Noah. We tackle everything as a team. However, there are clearly different challenges for the caregiver versus the patient. The first night of the flare-up, I had trouble moving and we were both concerned. Being a caregiver and a patient is a balancing act. It’s hard for Noah because he wishes he could do more. It’s difficult for me to see his pain knowing how much he wants to help, yet there’s only so much he can do. I know I hide some of my physical pain from him and I’m sure he does the same with his emotions. It’s a tightrope we walk together. We learn as we go.
Even though, at times, rest is the best medicine for my back, it is hard to be still. When dealing with health issues, whether PKD or chronic pain, I always yearn for a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, other than completing the health marathon of getting through each day with grace.
There is no manual for dealing with setbacks and health issues. There is no right or wrong. Some days will feel like we are floating on a comfy raft in the bay, while other days feel like we are thrown into a speedboat ripping through rough seas. I know some days I will listen to my body and other days I will push myself too hard. I tell myself that all of this is ok, because I am learning as I go.
What have you learned with any setbacks and/or health issues you have faced?