A conversation took place yesterday with a fellow Pool Lady that touched my heart in many ways. She told me the story of going to the doctor only to be told what she already knew. Her condition, while not exactly life threatening, was not surgically repairable. Her life would continue to be ruled by pain. Her doctor was stern but sympathetic. "This is something your just going to have to learn to live with". The same conversation with a doctor happened for me about 17 years ago. My doctor was not sympathetic. Just have to learn how to live with.......Just? Just? Lady, really, Just? Like I could twitch my Samantha nose and everything would be wonderful. Just.... my butt!
When my friend said those words, my stomach fell through the floor and I was sitting on the exam table again. I too, cried for days. I could not imagine how I was to live, not just exist in this body that has betrayed me. All my life I had lived a very strenuous life. Chopping wood, hauling wood, construction, driving cars and tractors, grew up on a farm........well it was a shock to hear a doctor tell me that I had over used my body! WHAT? It never occurred to me that was possible.
As I was trying to learn how to live in this worn out, painful body, and I was living in the grey world of grief, I lost many friends. Just what I needed at the time, don't ya think? Not only did my body ache, but my heart did too. My husband, my wonderful husband, stood by me the entire time, and still does. But serendipity is a funny thing. I believe that God puts people in your path to teach you lessons you need to learn. Well, thru a set of events, I joined the warm water pool. I could have chosen any number of water classes, but this 4:00 class ......... The other women all have similar stories, rounds of doctors, pain management, surgeries, recovery, boy, we're all falling apart. These women all get, that there are days I can do a lot, then there are days I can't. Many of us knit, most of us read, we all laugh! Laughter, my refuge. Pictures of me in childhood all show me clowning around, all of them. The years of grief over the loss of my former life, well, didn't get me too far. It turned me morose, distant, on edge. Grief was a lesson I had to learn. Lessons can be so hard. I try to laugh every day, many times a day. That was one lesson, when you laugh, and put life in its place, not dwell on pain, or not being able to go and do, its no less painful, but it does get a little easier. I had to learn many other things before I could re-enter life. Listen to my body, don't overdo (hard). Sleep when I need to, no matter what (not easy). Wear comfortable clothes and shoes (easy). Include as many things in my life that make ME happy (easy). Swim with a wonderful group of like minded, like bodied women (easy). We swim, we eat, we knit, we talk some about how we feel, but none of us, on most days, live in the pain.
My friend that day needed more. A few days have passed and its been on my mind. I apologize to her. The pain and heartbreak in her eyes, I couldn't handle it then. I promise to be more in the moment, just let her talk when she needs to, cry when she needs to, come to my house to eat cake (on the porch) when she needs to. As women, as women in the same pool, so to speak, we stand together.
Laugh often, everyday
Turn your face to the sun, everyday
Breath deeply, everyday
Do what makes you happy, everyday
Do these things everyday!