Where do you Focus when Navigating a Storm?
Have you ever driven on a highway during an intense storm? It’s hard to see, vehicles are whizzing past and you wonder if you should just pull over. And then you remember, just focus on the line. I usually get in the slow lane and focus on the white line on the shoulder of the road. The winds and rain might shift direction, vehicles might change speed and come too close, but I can count on the line because it doesn’t change. It will get me to where I want to go, however long it might take.
What do you focus on when life gets turbulent? When a pain flare comes? Or after a difficult appointment? Or when some other crazy thing threatens to throw you off course?
I used to focus on appointments. Always waiting for the next appointment or med change to quell the storm. We went through months and years of hope and despair, hope and despair, until we no longer felt hope and only despair.
We needed a steady line to focus on. Something that would lead us to our destination and wouldn’t throw us off course, regardless of the weather. And then we found it. Returning to function, despite the pain. It wasn’t the answer we were looking for. And it wasn’t exciting. But it was one small area where we knew we could make slow, consistent progress, despite the storms.
Flushing the toilet regularly, putting socks in the laundry basket, walking up and down the stairs twice…. We started small. We kept trying medicines, supplements, injections. We kept having pain flares, the flu, and even a car accident. But we kept making small weekly goals with Greta and accomplishing them.
Now she is pretty functional! In fact right now she is hiking with a friend. However, the storms don’t stop. We keep having pain flares, and the flu, and stubbed toes, and family crises.
How do we keep going when life is so hard? I don’t really know. I don’t know how any of us do it. However, having a focus, knowing that you are making slow, consistent progress, regardless of what storms may come, is a huge comfort.
I don’t ride the waves of hope and despair quite so much anymore. But I think I experience a little more gratitude and feel a little more proud. Thankful that we are making progress, even though we have had 5 really hard years. And proud that we keep coming back to focusing on function, regardless of the ups and downs.
It is hard. And we get thrown off course sometimes here and there. But we know this is the only thing that this is guaranteed to get us to our destination.
Yes, we may always live with some pain. And yes our desire is to one day live pain free. But in the meantime, slow daily progress towards increased function is our focus. It is the one thing we know will continue to bring us in the direction we want to be going.
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