The truth about life is that is all comes down to choices.
Some choices we make for ourselves, some choices others make for us, and some choices are completely out of everyone’s hands.
My life has been all about forced choices for the last few years as my health has taken one unexpected turn and another. I have had to learn how to manage my depleted energy levels in a way that lets me be a good mom above all else. Sometimes I have succeeded, other times I have failed.
This week I faced the biggest choice of my career since applying for law school. I argued my final hearing as a litigator.
I love litigation and I am very good at it but the fact is the amount of time and stress that goes into litigation isn’t healthy for me. My doctors are busily telling me how much I need to rest and relax while I spend ten hour days playing chicken with opposing counsel on pre-trial settlement agreements and frantically piling up every argument I can think of to support my client’s claims. I end up wrung out, exhausted, out of spoons. It takes days of rest for me to feel up to normal life again.
So I made a choice. No more litigation. As of now I am stepping out of the adrenaline spiking, endorphin rushing, sleep depriving world of litigation and into a fairly predictable job. I’m also starting at 10 hours a week until I feel I am able to handle my neurology, dental surgery, and physical therapy appointments and meet a regular working schedule.
I feel angry that I have to make these choices but lucky that I have choices to make. I have a supportive boss who held my position for me and will let me take the time I need to heal before I increase my hours. I have family who support me while I am healing. I have a partner who loves me, limitations and all, and who works with me every day to get better.
I feel lucky that I am able to choose to be healthier. To focus my energy on healing and managing my health instead of having to do what is immediately in front of me.
I feel lucky that I am able to choose wisely.
Oliver turned eight with an indoor camping sleepover Wii party. He and three friends spent the night battling Kirby’s enemies, eating ravioli, and topping their tummies off with a sticky fruit tart.
This morning saw bacon and pancakes and then a walk to the library for some sun and creative play. The wind blew mightily as the fearless trio ran, jumped, and climbed with the Kirby stuffies in tow. At the library they took over the pavilion in the children’s section and built a variety of obstacle courses.
Oliver said it was exactly how he wanted his birthday to be.
Happy birthday young man!
How are your spoons?
It’s a question I get asked a lot now that family and close friends have begun learning the new lingo. For myself, I have been getting used to managing a chronic medical illness and the attendant drop in energy that goes with it.
Sometimes I push too hard, such as preparing for Dan’s 40th birthday party. When that happens my body immediately lets me know. I find the next day it’s nearly impossible to do much more than mere basics.
I am, however, managing.
I found a three year old non-profit focused on educating the general population about migraine disorders and finding funding for more treatment options. I joined it. I am applying what I learned in the hospital to my life, I am working to get the treatment plans moving forward. I am managing.
MHNI uses a 0-5 pain scale for migraine, with zero being none and five being debilitating. For the last five months I have had a four or five headache nearly every day. Since the hospital I have stayed at a two or so with only two fives. It’s an improvement. I’ll take it.
Since returning I have increased my daily activities. I played with my kids over spring break, I cook, I clean. I have a bit more energy each day, unless I spend too many spoons and set myself back. I am hopeful.
There are still stressors. I get frustrated with my lowered energy level. It sucks the talking and laughing can cause my jaw to hurt. There is still a small voice inside me that screams out “It’s not fair!!”. On the other hand, I beat Batman 2 on the Wii with my young man yesterday and I got my young lady a gorgeous new silk blouse at the thrift store with my mother. I walked the dog, I sat in the sun, I plan to start gardening, and soon, return to work.
It’s going to get better.