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As the year comes to a close, I'm looking forward to 2011 with hope that this year will be better than the last as it says in a song from the 90s. I have all sorts of goals, hopes, plans and dreams for my health. I can't wait to see how I do with the permanent spinal chord stimulator, will I be able to walk more and feel more confident about long routes? I'd like to get the shakiness I've developed under control. And there is always the goal of looking after my mental health. In short, I want to feel better.

But as I've contemplated this, I realized that it's not so much these goals that really capture the essence of my resolution regarding health. No, what I really want and resolve to work toward is a day when my health needs are managed so well that they're in the background, affecting less of what I do.

Maybe there will still be the pills to take and I might have to change a stimulator setting or two, but mostly I resolve to be a woman first, to let the health care stuff have its place but not let it overwhelm my life.

I'm not saying that I won't give my health the attention it needs, but I do want to get smarter about what my health needs are and anticipate them so that they can remain in the background. I have one more semester, and I can think of several situations which are going to be easier if I don't have to watch my health like a hawk every second. Mainly, how great it would be to not have to worry about flare ups which come out of no where. With better control of my health, that would be less of an issue. It will allow me to work more reliably on assignments, plan to go do things with friends without worrying about a surprise flare and generally feel safer.

How can I achieve this? You ask. It's simple. Though it is definitely not easy. I will need to keep a balance of concern for my health and have specific times and places where I deal with my health issues. This blog and my doctor's office are two examples. Then I will have addressed my health needs. The next step is continuing the work I've done teaching myself to feel like a regular woman when it is not one of the times I use for caring for my health. Lastly, I will make sure to have the tools I need so that I can care for myself and stay comfortable, I will not neglect an issue hoping it will go away. I will be Nickie first and let the health stuff be something I have.

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