Friday, December 23, 2011

I do and I don't - contradictions in living with lupus

Our annual Christmas card. I love putting it together. I love getting the girls all dressed up, I love taking the photos, I love picking the perfect card for our perfect photos, and I love sending it out to all of our friends and family, ensuring that at least once a year, I connect with the people we care about the most. It's simply one of the best things I do all year.

It's also, ahem, one of the worst things I do all year. The girls love getting dressed up, but they don't like posing for pictures. Dar is a sweet guy, but it can be tricky to get him to look directly into the camera. Sorting through the list of addresses is fun, but making sure they're updated isn't. Printing the labels and making the mad dash to the post office - really, it's not all that great.

But I wouldn't skip it for the world. I love the finished product, and even the photos that don't make the card are ones that we look back on year after year, making us laugh and remember how much fun (and how much bribery) was involved.

This love-hate relationship reminds me of some of my lupus contradictions - a couple of which I've been able to sort out over the years.

When I was first diagnosed, I wanted people to notice and understand how sick I was. But at the same time, I really didn't want them to notice or understand how sick I was. I wanted to appear strong and resilient, but I also wanted those around me to understand how badly the disease made me feel, emotionally and physically. I struggled to find ways to talk about my illness - either I felt like I was lying when I said I felt great, or I was complaining when I expounded on my woes. I grappled with this for years after my diagnosis, but thankfully, over time, I realized what I needed to do first. Come to terms with the disease myself, and only then could I start helping others come to terms with it - in ways that would help my healing process, rather than hinder it.

Another issue I struggled with was my doctor's intervention. I'd often go to my appointments, desperate for my doctor to do anything he could to alleviate my symptoms. But then when my doctor would really intervene, like drastically upping my medicine, or admitting me to the hospital - I didn't like the consequences that came with it. I wanted to get better, but on my terms, not his. Today, of course, I realize that my doctor's intervention is an integral part of my health and wellness. If it weren't for the checks and balances he offers - with his constant questioning, tweaking, and retooling of my treatment - I wouldn't be here today. Truth is, I offer my own sort of check and balance system right back at him, but that's another post!

So here's to letting those contradictions continue to resolve themselves. Let 2012 bring less upset and more insight. And we'll let these three shining, happy faces remind us of that all year long!

4 comments:

Katie Rice said...

Very insightful. We all grapple with contradictions, wherein we want many different things all at once.

This post is especially relevant at this time of year, when we want joy, fun, family time, picture perfect holidays and serenity all at once. And yet we know that's quite a hefty feat to achieve, if not outright impossible.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue, and here's to doing whatever it takes to take care of ourselves and live well!

Sara Gorman said...

Thanks for your comment! Your Christmas card post (http://www.growcareercoaching.com/2011/12/hail-to-all-ye-procrastinators.html)

offered some great insight, too. Thanks for stopping by!

Janet H said...

Just wanted to chime in and tell you how much I appreciated getting your card in the mail! Christmas cards are one of my very favorite things about the season. I too struggle to get this task done for my own family, and I can definitely relate to some of the annoying parts that you've blogged about... but I still love it! Thanks for your efforts!

Sara Gorman said...

So nice to hear! I, too, love the end product...and find it such a simple, creative way to reach out and connect to all of our friends (like you!) and family. I will carry on the tradition - and I hope you will, too. Loved the picture on the back of your card...so happy and peaceful!