Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Keeping the bar high - even in the rental house

Our renovation is sailing along...we're just days away from being 50% complete. On time, and on schedule. Yippee! We're officially in what I call the "giddy" stage. Every time I go back to the house to check out the progress, I get goose bumps. It's so exciting to see the plans come together. Here's a quick peek at one of the recent additions to the house - our wall of windows that looks out our back yard:


BEFORE



AFTER
AFTER


 
This is one of the primary reasons we did the renovation. Mission accomplished!
 
Of course, as the house gets closer and closer to being finished, the rental house we're in grows less and less appealing. It's doing the job, and we're getting by just fine. But I'm ready to get back into a larger living space, where I can nap in solitude, the girls can spread out a bit, and Johnny has his office back. Just the thought of a normal size master bathroom makes me excited.
 
I'd kind of forgotten how small and old the rental bathroom was until I took a shower in the girls' bathroom just a few days ago, which is bigger, newer, and much nicer than the master bath. Wow! Was that ever nice! I can't believe how accustomed I'd become to the conditions of the other bathroom. In this case, it was a positive that I'd learned to overlook the situation. Sometimes, you just have to close your eyes and put your head down to get through a situation that's less than favorable (like a dingy old rental bathroom.)
 
But other times, particularly when it comes to living with a chronic illness, you have to be careful about lowering your standards. Pain, suffering, fatigue aren't absolutes when it comes to living with lupus. Yes, life is different. And yes, there are adjustments to be made because of symptoms like those listed above. But life with lupus doesn't have to be unbearable. And it doesn't have to be hopeless.
 
Here's a quick excerpt from my book, Despite Lupus, touching on this very subject. Let's make a pact that we won't lower our standards - in or out of the master bathroom!
 
***
REFOCUSING YOUR OPTIMISM:
breaking the spell
At some point along your journey, you’re bound to lose your objectivity, too.
Given the myriad aches, pain, swellings, rashes, and fevers to which you’re subjected,
do you really know what “good” should feel like anymore? I’m not asking if
you can describe the feeling; I want to know if you remember what it actually feels
like. I bet it’s been so long since you felt 100%, you no longer can imagine that
exact sensation. Passage of time, conditioning, and relativity have recalibrated
the measuring stick you now use to determine how much hurt is enough, and how
truly sick you are. The gauge you use today can only be the pain from yesterday, but
how insufferable was the pain even then? Maybe your complaints are fewer than
they’ve been in the past, but why should functioning with any health complaint
 
suddenly be acceptable? An objective assessment of your health is no longer possible
because you’ve reduced your expectations to accommodate the changes in
your functionality and appearance. The ailing, broken-down, failing body you see
in the mirror somehow looks more familiar than not. It’s as if “normal” has been
redefined to mean “that which is bearable” and the ache in your hip or the joint
pain in your hands is now customary. Your standards have been compromised.
Now it’s time to reconsider what “normal” should really look and feel like.
 
***
 
 

2 comments:

Cassie said...

Hi Sara,

Haven't visited in a very long time but took today off of work. Had a moment and for no good reason decided to check in.

Thank you for your note on optimisim. It touched my soul as I continue on this lupus journey. I probably needed your thoughts more than I realized.

COngrats on your home.

Keep up the good words. They do help. I need to check in - frequently.

Cassie

Sara Gorman said...

Good to hear from you! nothing like a day off of work to get you in the right frame of mind. i hope you're well and will look forward to hearing from you...often. :)