Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Push!

The push, not to be confused with La Push (the native American village in which a very gorgeous Jacob resides)! Anyone with a chronic disorder knows what "the push" is, it's pushing your body to it's very limits, sometimes just to do a simple task. We all do it, and many of us pay for it later. To not do the task would be giving up or giving in. It would be the same as a prize fighter quiting a fight before he even started just because he might lose! For me, doing the task is part of living, to give up is to stop living.

I recently had a crash (severe symptomatic episode) at church. I knew I wouldn't be able to make it up the stairs to help lead a small group, so I had asked a friend to let the other leader know I wouldn't be able to make it. Well this lead to a well meaning friend taking over some basic decisions for me. I knew I needed to go home and rest, but next thing I know I'm being told I should use my wheelchair. Now I'm more than willing to use my chair if the episode is really bad, but that day I just couldn't make it up stairs. I knew that I could make it back to my car, but most likely at a very slow pace. I was told that not using my chair was an issue of pride, and that I should get over my pride issue and use the chair. Again, I know my friends intentions were only to look out for my best interest, but guilt and shame only made me feel worse. Next I'm being told that someone would be driving me home, now I'm on the fence on that one. At the time I felt up to driving, but if I had walked to my car maybe I would have needed a ride home. But the options were taken from me. Coming from a family with a handicapped family member, I learned very early that you don't just help the handicapped, you give them the option, for example; asking"can I open the door for you?", instead of just opening the door. I just want my options. Now if I'm not responding coherently to your questions, please make the decisions for me, in fact you might want to call 911.

Well, this well meaning friend brought me home. Next thing I know we're discussing my work options! I had shared that work leaves me exhausted in the evenings and weekends, but the joy of teaching is so worth it! I shared that if I had to quit it would be like a death sentence to me. Being isolated in the evenings and on the weekends if tough enough, I can't imagine living like that 24/7. I know many of you are living this reality, and I know many of you are doing some amazing things with the time you're given, I'm just not ready for that yet! I was told that that may be where my life is heading and that I should face that reality. I FACE THAT REALITY EVERY DAY! I know it's a possibility, but as long as I can work, I will work and pay the price for it, it's worth it! When I'm at work I feel so much better than when I'm at home, I think I'm getting spoons from my students, and that's how I'm surviving.

I guess the purpose of this blog is to let those who have people with chronic illness in their lives, to be sensitive to their wants and needs, and to ask them if they need help. And if you are suffering from a chronic illness, don't be afraid to ask for what you need, and to be OK to decline if you don't need the help. I believe that letting others make decisions for you gives them free reign to always make decisions for you. Positive boundaries are a good thing, it gives me some sense of control in my life, even though I suffer with a disease that leaves me feeling like I have very little control.

I hope you understand that I do feel very fortunate to have so many amazing people who care about me and want what's best for me in my life. I know these friends only have the best of intentions, but sometimes we're the only ones who know what we truly need. For many of us "the push" is worth it.

Always inspired,


  1. I understand what you are saying. It bothers me too when someone just takes over and makes all my decisions for me, when I am perfectly capable of making my own. I hope you are feeling better today.

  2. You took the words right out of my mouth. I may be sending a link to this to a few people as soon as I push post. I know people mean well but sometimes I wish they would think for a moment before they start to tell me what to do and take away the last remnant of choice I have. Great post Michele.:)

  3. Great post! I hear you with the working giving you spoons thing too. No matter how bad I feel, I push myself to go in and help my Mum who is a teacher, and I always end up coming home feeling better. Children spread such joy and lightness, which is what made me want to be a teacher myself. I know it won't be easy at all, but I am prepared to give it my best shot because I'm not ready to 'give in' either! xx