Sometimes the hardest part about living and fighting with an illness is the living.
Let me explain, please.
It’s easy to wallow and feel shitty for yourself. I could do that daily if I wanted, and some days I do. But really, it’s more like some *moments* I do. That part is entirely easy. All the medication. All the doctor’s. All the IVs. All the fear for my family. Something many don’t get. I don’t really fear for me…I fear for them. And believe me that is way harder than just wallowing for yourself and feeling mad and angry about your situation. It’s feeling scared and worried constantly for everyone I love that kills me.
Then I get into the fight mood. I’m going to growl and kick Lupus to the curb, I’m going to be the strongest and most amazing person with Lupus EVER and will CRUSH anything in my path. ERIN SMASH LUPUS GRRRRRRRR.
But then, most of the time, it’s just the living. And that is the hardest part. Where you’re not really fighting and you’re not really angry and you’re not wallowing- there is no high or low- you just live. Every day. With this condition that affects every.single.day. of our lives right now.
Preparing meals ahead of time, scheduling pick ups and life for children whose mother will be hooked to an iv every single day this week so someone else may have to get them from school. Making sure permissions slips are signed, homework is done, husband has his hat for the cold wind by work, laundry is in, etc.
Life. Just life.
So when my friend Megan began her #OpEleanor challenge I ignored it. Well, I didn’t ignore, ignore it…I just decided that everything I wanted, everything I aim to do that I fear or that is new has no place in my life. This just life we have been struggling to cobble together since Lupus took it over.
As per usual, I want too much. I aim too high. I want it ALL and I want it NOW. So Operation Eleanor was too big for me. Right now, I have learned too much is too big for me. If I signed up I’d end up trying to climb Mt. Everest before the end of November and then Aaron would be mad because I’d train and get sicker and yet insist I keep training and then I’d end up med-evacuted off the top of mountain where I nearly killed myself trying to reach the summit because I want too much. I aim too high. I want it ALL and I want it NOW.
Go ahead, ask Aaron, he’ll tell you. I’d try it. I would actually try to climb that mountain, with Lupus, and nearly die, or actually die, doing it. And all because I signed up for a blog challenge from a friend and refused to go small, or give up. And because one of my biggest fears is heights and right now my biggest challenge is, obviously, anything physical. So without even thinking Everest comes straight to mind in my Eleanor list and there you have it. The Vest family would be somewhere around Nepal and Tibet while I try to trek and do the impossible all because that is just how I am.
Thus my ignoring Megan’s challenge. It was safer. Just trust me on this. This means no one dies- and I am not exaggerating here.
But then, out of the darkness of me feeling totally ‘wallow’ and angry that I couldn’t accept this challenge and thus die, my husband tweeted that our eating and trying a new vegetarian dinner was an Operation Eleanor.
And of course, he was right. It was small, but it was something. and it was something I could and did do. Not everything has to be huge. Not everything has to be NOW and ALL and larger than life.
Sometimes it’s just life. And all it has to be is just life. And that needs to be enough.
It’s a lesson I am still learning. There is joy in aiming – but you don’t always have to shoot for the moon. There is joy at going BIG and once in a lifetime…but there is also serious joy in going small, and every day.
The is one of hardest things for me to grasp- it doesn’t have to be Mt. Everest each and every time. Even if Mt. Everest is how I roll.
So while I am not sure I can commit fully to this blogosphere fun, I can commit what I can handle: and right now that is day-to-day. New food. New ideas. If it can’t be Everest, maybe I can climb a ladder…which is just as terrifying for me, if not more than a large mountain.
Or other days it can be Everest. Or that Morocco shopping trip I promised my daughter while we saw the EPCOT version at Disney World…the one she still remembers and writes about in school…the one I WILL give her some day:
Or maybe I can just spend each day learning to be. And to be ok with it being small, being big, or being somewhere in between. Learning that this new life of mine is going to last awhile and I need to accept its challenges and it’s limits.
And be ok that sometimes just life happens in my new limits and that life is just fine and wonderful as is- it doesn’t need to be bigger or ALL or everything.
I am still here, which is an Operation Eleanor in and of itself. And as long as I continue to be here, it counts.
And if i keep telling myself that I might actually believe it. I’d just rather Everest.