Feeling Alive

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The timing of things, how experiences and events shake out, truly amazes me. My most recent post was about living with a chronic health condition and reframing the critical question or focus from why to how. I believe there is a fundamental difference between these two realms.

The why focus cultivates feelings of helplessness and has an external locus of control: something was done TO me. I am passive.

But how brings the control back to the internal realm by asking how to incorporate this set of circumstances, and how to handle them. I have some power and can take action.

Recently, after the above break-through, I got the opportunity to put the theory to practice. Occupied with a dust-up in my health condition, I’ve been overwhelmed and distracted, mulling over a depth of sadness I haven’t experienced in quite a while.

Two weeks ago I went to the ER with tingling and numbness on one side of my face. I try to live a normal life, going places, seeing people, working, writing, enjoying. But odd physical things happen from time to time and I need to get them checked out. This odd condition I have, FMD, makes arteries prone to tear or develop aneurysms. And I know that one-sided body numbness or weakness can be a sign of a stroke. Although I decided a long time ago that I won’t have a stroke (a person doesn’t get both a heart attack and a stroke… that’s just not right and I believe God has my back on this one), Michael and I knew I better be checked out.

This ER trip ruled out a stroke, very thankfully. But it did find a large, new aneurysm that needs to be watched over the coming months. What this trip also did, along with the follow-ups and consultations with specialists, was the equivalent of taking the wind right out of my sails. My sail boat fell over.

Both of my doctors were unusually compassionate; it was as if they each understood the situation was scary, and they each wanted to prevent something like this from happening again. They both expressed that they wished they could stop dissections or aneurysms from happening; they both said “I want you to live a normal life. Don’t be afraid of everything.” And they each reiterated the importance of my medications. They both said there is nothing else we can do except to take precautions, take medications.

At least three years have passed since my last big health issue. I was not complacent with this disease. I did take precautions and medications. But this dust-up was a reminder, one that made me very sad, as to what “chronic” really means. And there is no answer to the question of why. I just need to focus on the how, and continue to move forward.

Now, with some introspection and time, it is back to living with intention. I share this just so that the positive can be taken from negative circumstances. Weird dust-ups can happen to any of us and it’s how we choose to carry on afterward that defines us.

Make it a good week!


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