If there were ever a dictionary entry for “pacing oneself”, my picture would not be included. Those of us with chronic illnesses have learned that it’s important to pace ourselves so that we don’t become exhausted.
The exhaustion and severe pain that comes from over-doing it is hard to describe. This is often followed by a flare. A flare is basically a flare of symptoms, and we certainly don’t want our symptoms of pain to increase.
It’s hard to pace myself. There are so many things I want to do and participate in with my family. During this move, I’ve had to push myself beyond what I should do. Even though I take many breaks, there is so much work to be done that I over-do it. My family does most of the work and that shows how much they support me.
Yesterday was Sunday and we wanted to visit a church. Being new to this town, we had looked online and found a church that seemed good for us. Although I haven’t been able to attend church in a long while, I hoped to start this new life including church visits with my family.
I tried to pace myself by resting the day before and getting a long night’s sleep. Although my feet were very swollen and I was in pain, I pushed through and attended church. It was very enjoyable and I pretended to feel good. After a rest all afternoon, I joined my family again for the evening service.
I felt really exhausted, but again pretended to feel good. My family knew better, but who wants a frowning woman? Church was wonderful and the people there were extremely friendly. As we left the building, I could barely walk. My entire body was throbbing and my feet more swollen than before.
Getting home, I quickly changed into comfortable clothes and collapsed on the bed. The throbbing and aching went from my head to my toes. I really felt like it would be better if I could just be unconscious and stop the awfulness. After taking my evening prescriptions, I was relieved to fall asleep.
I failed to pace myself and I’m really paying for it today. I slept late and awakened in severe pain. Today will be a recovery day. I won’t recover to a healthy, pain-free state. I just hope to recover to my normal pain level.
So, if you’re struggling with chronic illnesses, I hope you’ll be better at pacing yourself than me. It’s a daily hardship, trying to pace oneself. I fail often, but when I do succeed, it really pays off. When I hurt the most I have more time to think. Many feelings overwhelm me.
I feel the common guilt that comes with not being able to participate in life. After I feel sorry for myself, I remember the good moments of my day. I am truly thankful that even though it caused me great pain, I was able to go to church with my family. God has blessed me with great support and love.
Thankfulnesses takes my mind off of my misery. There is so much to thank God for: beautiful blue skies, air-conditioning, and the heat-wave being over. What are you thankful for today?
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7
@2019, copyright Lisa Ehrman