A while back I published a post called, Oh, Good Grief. I wrote about how I have dealt with the grieving associated with having a chronic illness. First, let’s take a glance at the grief cycle:
Five Stages Of Grief
How long it takes you to go through this cycle is dependent upon you as an individual. No one can dictate it or tell you there is a set time. As for the loss of a loved one, especially a spouse, the survivor is advised to not make any big decisions for about a year. This allows for the passage of time and actually focussing on the grief. It is not saying, however, that you have to get through the grief cycle in that year.
Within my personal journey through this cycle, which has come from the loss of my health, I am still moving forward and have been for a few years now. I don’t think my journey began at the time of diagnosis, September 2005. I think it began the following June when surgery failed and I went from unilateral to bilateral.
Early on, it was easy to deny that I was sick. I didn’t have the symptoms all the time. They only surfaced once or twice a month, so I felt normal the rest of the time except a bit of hearing loss and constant tinnitus. These days, if I wake feeling it is a fairly good day, I may deny I am sick. This lasts however long it takes me to get out of bed. As soon as my feet hit the floor, I am pinging off of walls and furniture in an attempt to remain vertical.
I have also done my fair share of bargaining with my doctors. It has been more like pleading and begging that actual bargaining though.
Most of the last eleven and a half years I have spent in the anger and depression stages. It wasn’t clinical depression, but a strange kind of depression. The anger was real though. I mostly took it out on myself. I recall one time after coming out of a bout, which kept me in bed for more than two days, I was finally up to taking a shower. I stepped out of the shower and stood there looking in the mirror. I had combed my shoulder-length hair and was about to put it up into a high ponytail on top of my head. After securing the band, I took the scissors out of the medicine cabinet and cut my hair just under the hair band close to my scalp. I then went into the front room, sat down and took a pair of nail clips and cut off all of my nails, right down to the quick. In my adulthood, my hair and my nails have been the two things I took the most pride in. Thanks to Galar, I lashed out at myself by removing them.
It is time to move on before I start crying remembering this time in my life.
Acceptance, the final frontier. I have stated time and again, that I will NEVER accept this beast in my life. Never is a very long time. No, I have not altered that mindset. When you lose a loved one, you do, at some point, need to accept that they are no longer physically here with you. However, I think, for those of us with chronic illnesses, we never really reach the point of accepting something so harsh and vulgar as part of our lives. It is more of a coming to terms.
November 1, 2004, my life was changed forever. I will never be the person I was before. One day, a knight, wielding Excalibur will ride up on his mighty steed and vanquish this dragon, forever. It will be destroyed for all time and all people just like plagues and illnesses we only read about in books.
This, I accept.
For now, I am working on coming to terms with the fact that Galar is in my life. I do not open my arms to accept him willingly. I do not invite him. I am willing, however, to begin the process of, perhaps, a peace treaty. This will be my coming to terms with a beast who controls most of my life. One day, I will use those terms to defeat him once and for all.