Eight nights and nine days. Sadly, not the length of a glorious vacation. My husband has been on a gig on the other side of the country. This is the first time I’ve been on my own with the kids since my treatment began. I was afraid I wouldn’t be strong enough or well enough to cope.
“You used to have lots of bad days with a few good days. But lately you are having lots of good days with a few bad days.” My dear friend’s perspective of me is a much-needed guide and support. I am so grateful for her. God-sent in perfect timing.
I probably should have been keeping a journal. The Lyme has made my memory thin and patchy. I remember that I have had days and nights of terrible pain. And I know that I have good days and bad days. But I don’t know what the journey looks like.
One of my doctors said the illness has given me a gift: I can’t afford to take anything for granted. The simplest things are no longer simple. And because of that I should find gratefulness when I get to partake in the things that most humans take for granted.
And so today, while the kids are having their “rest time,” I am reflecting. I am grateful for this week.
1. Served on my friend’s birthing team. I had energy. I had strength. I had clarity of mind. Those are not always available to me. I am grateful for my day at the hospital that had nothing to do with my illness or treatment! I am overwhelmingly grateful for the dear friends who watched my kids for 10 hours.
2. Drove a friend to the airport. I am grateful that I had the energy and focus to do it. A few weeks ago I couldn’t drive that distance because of pain and numbness. I am also grateful that a dear friend watched the kids while I did the airport transport.
3. Had an interpersonal conflict to work through. I am grateful for the community I am in. It is not easy but it is good. My mind did not totally keep up with the pace of the conflict resolution process but I had energy. The conflict helped me to see that my pastoral role in our church body is not just historical. It is still important and I need to be more engaged and active to invest.
4. Sermon prepped (before things changed). Sermon prep is both a beautiful and beastly process for me. This prep time has been a good use of my mind and I can see that my mind is healing. The theological and philosophical part of my mind had thinned away. I’m feeling it growing again.
5. Worship practice. Thanks to a sweet friend I didn’t have to juggle the kids at worship practice. I got to “enjoy” the naked feeling of being on vocal team without the keyboard. It was stretching and good. The team this week was interactive and collaborative. It was a joy. I am grateful to have the energy to be back on worship team.
6. The kids got colds. Fighting the cold myself. I am grateful for the immune system strength to fight a simple cold. For years, I now realize, my body wasn’t able to fight colds. This is a major milestone in my opinion.
7. Praying about a women’s retreat worship opportunity. Praying for the right team to come together so I can accept the opportunity. So grateful I have the energy to even consider saying yes. I really have come so far in this healing journey!
8. Received an insurance denial letter. I am grateful to have access to medical care. I am grateful to have found a doc who is willing to treat me. This controversial disease is ruining so many lives. The stories in my support group are horrible. Most people are very ill and some are even bed-ridden. Many are in debt for hundreds of thousands of dollars. I am grateful to have the coverage I have. A friend suggested I can fight this denial. I’m not sure I have the energy and brain power to do that. Praying now for wisdom and energy if I should fight.
9. Chatted and laughed and enjoying being with girlfriends. We had three girlfriend nights this week. I am so grateful for dear friends who will come and be with me. I am grateful for stupid movies to watch. I am grateful for the diversity of each of us. I am grateful for women of sisterhood.
10. Went to church, parks, malls, the library and a concert. I am amazed. Something I think most people take for granted is the ability to go places. For months I didn’t feel I had the energy to leave the couch let alone load the kids into the car and go somewhere. This week I went to so many places. I even grocery shopped with both kids several times. This is major. It actually makes me teary-eyed. I am so grateful for so many low-pain days.
And so, I have lived through nine days and eight nights as a single-parent. I forgot to take my meds some days. I ate “dirty” most days and ate really bad on two days. (Special thanks to my girlfriends who provided cheese on a gf pizza and a no-bake cookie with butter and sugar.) But the kids and I have survived.
Seven hours till my husband’s plane touches down. I am grateful he is coming home. Thank you God. For everything.