It’s been some time since my last article, I wish this was due to an influx of ideas met by many posts being written at the same time. Unfortunately this is not the case, though I do have a wide array of planed topics going forward! The reality is, I have not been feeling very well as of late. As much as I would like to say I “pushed through” I “didn’t give in” or “I ignored what was happening so I could stick to my personal commitment of a new post every week”. This did not happen. I have been under the influence of exasperated symptoms of my Multiple Sclerosis. Due in part to the heat as of late, more so from added life stress.
Whether it be personal finances, employment, or simply the day to day intensity of our modern world, stress impacts all of us. For some, without realizing just how much. When a person has any sort of Chronic Disease, these added stressors can quickly compound underlying issues. In my case, fatigue, cognitive impairment, anger and a deep sense of sadness. Yes, there are medications to aid in the management and prevention of these issues rising to the surface, medications I do take. Although what I have found in my life, sometimes you needed to allow yourself to experience the process until you reach a point where mentally, you have overcome the worst. Waking up this morning, this is where I found myself. The stress is present, although something has just “clicked” within my own consciousness where I once again feel happy.
Though this may be rather difficult for some to truly understand, this is a cycle I have experienced many times over since falling ill, during my experience with MS, my Ileostomy and at times my Pyoderma Gangrenosum. My wife is incredibly supportive when I am in these states. We don’t often speak of it, we simply bounce off each other. She knows I am not always one to speak about what is going on, although as expected she sees right through the facade. As for many who internalize the true nature of their experiences, I do so out of guilt. As I had mentioned in a previous article, I deal with an intense amount of guilt for being sick. For those that do not live with a life altering disease this can be difficult to truly appreciate. Whether you are a mother or a father such as myself, it is easy to convince yourself you have let down those in your life you care the most for. Over the years I have come to realize I am there for my family, simply in different terms.
As of late, my wife and I made the realistic decision that it is not in the best interest of our family for me to be the “Primary Full Time” working parent. Many times we have experienced extreme financial hardships when I have been out of commission unable to work due to health circumstances. Stereotypically, the father or “Man of the House” has been the driving force of household income. As society has grown and adapted to our modern world, this is no longer the face of the modern workplace. Though I hold on to this guilt, my wife is truly happy, sometimes too happy lol, with her new role in a new organization. Having said that, her fulfillment at work lessens my negative self talk. After nearly 20 years of working, quite successfully I’m proud to say, I have stepped back into a part time role with a not for profit organization. Obviously a significant change of pace from what I am used to.
What hasn’t helped as of late medications going through my digestive system without being absorbed. Having lost my colon in 2003, pill form medications are not as well absorbed into a person with an Ileostomy bag. Over the last week, I have experimented different ways to take these medications along with reaching out to the Ostomy community online. Between advice and trying different things within my own schedule of intake of medication it seems I have found a solution that works for me.
I am often asked how I remain positive through such adversity since such a young age. The honest answer is, I don’t. Most people will see the happy go lucky person that I portray. Though I do honestly feel happy and positive the majority of the time, I too have moments in time where I am angry at my circumstances, bitter at my circumstances and want to give into my circumstances. What keeps me from giving in is not only my family, my wife, children, parents and siblings rather a simple truth I replay in my mind over and over;
“There is a reason behind all of this, a reason I am not fully aware of, not yet that is!”
Maintaining this mindset is not always front and centre in my thoughts during rough times. However it is always there. I have come across many people, in person and online, who have lived through so much more than I could ever have imagined. They are the ones that give me the strength, keeping me grounded to a higher sense of perspective than perhaps most. By sharing my experiences both good and bad I hope to influence others self dialogue. Helping others to appreciate the fact that it is okay to be vulnerable with yourself, allowing to understand there will be times of difficulty, emotionally as well as physically.