Hi fellow spineys.
I think I'm finally understanding some of the things that you all go through consistently. My life has changed and I feel the need to share some thoughts with my friends.
As most of you know (or even care), I'm just over one month into my new job. It's amazing how different my life is now vs. "then".
"Then" was when I was unemployed, did only what I could do and only occasionally overdo, but had enough wherewithall to go to a concert with my hubby or out for dinner with friends on any given day because I had my time before the event. My days were golden - I rested, cared for me, took care of and raised my Wally, did what I could around the house and got through life as easily as one can with spine problems. Don't get me wrong - there was the stress of not working and sometimes it was debilitating - but in hindsight, I'm able to look at it in another dimension.
Now, working full time, my "me time" and down time is so minimalized that I don't want to go to a concert during the week (tonight my hubby left me for a concert, sadness in his eyes but gratitude in mine), don't feel capable of doing much after work and suddenly realize that I'm now like so many of you. The work and commitment of the day drains you like a leech. I've also discovered that my little 2-year-old Wally takes his revenge in the middle of the night if he doesn't get enough time with us in a single day, so working full time, coming home for an hour, going out and coming home and going to bed in two hours wreaks havoc on our sleep due to his need for attention, thus our next working day.
I didn't work for two years - only part time for a month or so after my ACDF in 2008 and not at all before and after my TLIF. I had so much "me" time. Although I love my job and it isn't as painful as I thought it would be, there's still some pain that I need to work to control.
And, as I was saying from the beginning, the time outside of my work has become a burden, trying to keep doing what I was doing when I didn't have a job - singing and running sound at the church, going to concerts, going to dinner with friends - I just don't want to do any of it and feel that it's not even possible not only physically, but mentally.
This isn't totally or even mostly due to chronic pain (although I've put it in this section), it more has to do with losing that part of my life that is my own. I'm relishing having this evening to myself, I get so little anymore. I'm skipping church this weekend where hubby plays drums because I need more "me time".
We need to realize that with everything we do, one part of our life goes away and another begins. Nothing is too horrible to withstand - being uncomfortable, lonely, in pain, sad, tired, depressed - yes, some or all of those things, but it's all part of our ever changing lives and defining moments that we endure because we...are. We just are. And that's a good thing. It IS difficult, we have feelings and sometimes just the thought of others out and about when we're relaxing or just taking care of ourselves, our "me time", brings guilt, sadness or a host of other emotions, but tomorrow is another day and brings new hope and promises. Just as today may be stifling, tomorrow may be liberating.
So try to enjoy now, today, this moment, as much as you can. Take what is given and endure the things that feel like they just might be too much..they're not, you're strong. WE'RE strong.
I think I'm giving myself a pep talk as much as I'm trying to give some of you one. My hubby, like I said, is at a concert tonight, going to play drums at church this weekend, and will golf one of these two coming nice weekend days. I'll participate in none of it, is my guess. It's my choice and I'm going to live with it guilt-free. I may choose to ride in the cart during his golf game, but the rest of the time is for me. Me and my little precious Wally, who gratefully makes me walk every day.
Thanks for listening and here's to self-empowerment and control when you feel you have none. Being alone and taking time for "you" is ok, it's perfectly fine, acceptable and necessary. I don't think anyone can realize that like a spiney - "me time" is precious and can be rare, so embrace it when you can and take good, good care of yourselves.
Peace my friends.