Before I get into rambling…I really wanted to thank all my new followers and old friends for commenting recently on my posts and for following my blog. I felt so warmly welcomed into the writer’s community on WordPress! I’ve so enjoyed discovering posts by others that describe what I am going through with the disease Sarcoidosis, and it’s comforting to have a place to vent. I’ve also been lucky to read and communicate with true writing talent (thank you Lance Sheridan) which has opened up an interesting new world for me.
One of the ways I’m dealing with my new life on disability is through the Internet. How lucky I am to have this at my disposal. I think about people who are worse off, paralyzed or bedridden, who now also have access to this new world. I’m hoping that their lives are improving from it. I think that even those who are demented or in assisted living facilities now have ways to entertain themselves rather than being forced to rely on others as much.
For me though, I think a large part of my Internet use is an escape mechanism. I don’t turn on the television or watch movies during the day. I cannot bring myself to that. I feel that if I watched television, I would be succumbing to the illness. I am saving the TV for when and if I get too sick to do anything else. Hopefully that time will never materialize, as maybe I will get better, but who knows? After three years of worsening illness, I’m not sure what to think anymore.
So I escape to the Internet and find that there is more than enough to keep me busy. Writing for the blog keeps my brain from deteriorating. It also makes me feel accomplished. It is creative, but my true creative needs are fulfilled by more artistic pursuits. I started a store selling dresses because I always had an interest in fashion. Interior design grabs me, but the DIY projects have become physically too demanding at home. I am satisfied because I completed many of the projects that needed to get done in my house, but I had to find a more restful outlet.
My husband, kids and dogs have not been too happy about my new internet pursuits, as I’m almost always glued to the screen. One of my dogs occasionally paws my phone out of my hand. My husband tries to talk to me, but I am not a great multitasker these days and I really can’t hold a conversation while concentrating on my product listings!
Spending the day on the computer leaves me fulfilled enough, but I wonder if it’s just avoidance behavior. I’m avoiding thinking about the future. But if I’m happy in the present, isn’t that what’s important?
Busyness on my internet business also helps avoid discomfort as I often have pain that gets worse when I’m up. Lying down usually alleviates most of the discomfort. The Internet gets me through those weeks that I can’t do anything useful like house work, while ameliorating my guilt.
As it happens, I’m finally starting to notice a pattern. I do feel better after the monthly Remicade infusions. My energy increases for at least a few days, sometimes longer. That’s when I can clean, shop and cook more. Once or twice I have even tried to exercise but was too wiped out to continue on a regular basis.
The funny thing is that I find myself enjoying life more than I did when I had a job and all the energy that I needed to get through the days. This tells me that maybe I was in the wrong profession. Maybe if I had been more in touch with what really made me happy, I might have structured my life differently. I might not have been subjected to the tremendous stress that likely played a part in my illness. Sarcoidosis is associated with stress and its symptoms are exacerbated by it. According to one study, patients with Sarcoidosis often have greater cumulative life stress.
I don’t have all the answers as to how a person can achieve everything, but it seems to me that if motivated to do so, a person might be able to structure their life around the things that they enjoy. I’m doing that now, a little too late, but I also feel that there is no way that I would have quit my old life for this one intentionally. I had to be forced into this life, because in the past, to quit, would have been irresponsible. All the years of training to be a physician and all the loans that I paid off for my schooling ($200,000)! How could I have quit medicine for an uncertain career? It was positively unthinkable.
Maybe this is why I am happy now. I thank G-d for making me sick so that I can finally do what fulfills me. I am not scared of the future because I am happy right now. I have no need to worry, yet. So here’s to doing what you love!