“It keeps me alive – at least 37% of the time.
Let me state that again… over one-third of my waking hours,
I‘m kept alive by this little battery pack in my chest…”
Initially, I didn’t post about RA very often. I don’t know, there’s just a very personal component to a chronic illness journey. Something about being sick that you don’t want to share with others. I’ve learned, though, that this Chrony journey is easier when walked alongside others who understand. Fellow CDP’s (chronic disease peeps) who get it. So, here are some thoughts before my initial trip to Vanderbilt. These are taken from my medical journal back in 2014. I went to the Dysautonomia and Pituitary clinics, and was also seen at the Rheumatology clinic while there. Waiting to go to Vanderbilt was such a vulnerable time for me. In fact, the entire chronic journey makes you vulnerable. Really vulnerable.
Here are my thoughts from that week in June, 2014. The words ring as true to me today as they did then. Maybe even more so…
The next step in my medical journey is going to Vandy in a couple of weeks. Many of you know it’s been quite the journey these last few years, full of medical surprises. I had a great pacemaker checkup today, am on the pacer 37% of the time now. So, one-third of the time, I’m pulling on this little battery pack that’s in my chest. It’s doing its job and is solid as a rock. Guess I’m glad I have it.
What I’m really thankful for is a team of doctors who overrode my denial of need and implanted a device that has saved my life. It keeps me alive – for at least 37% of the time. Let me state that again… over one-third of my waking hours, I’m kept alive by this little battery pack in my chest.
That is very humbling. And it’s a game changer.
I waited a long time to start writing about my journey, but here are 3 things I learned early on…
Clean out your priority closet. Chances are, half the things in there really don’t belong. Do it now, no delays. You won’t get your procrastination time back.
Let go of over-achieve and perfectionism. Besides driving everyone around you crazy, perfection is an unachievable goal. Even if achieved, this mindset will rob you of the joy of a life dependent on Christ and Christ alone. There can be but one source of my strength, and if it’s me, it can’t be Him. Give it up. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your spouse and kids.
Appreciate your healthcare team. Don’t just not participate in physician criticisms – stamp it out. Go against the grain here. Appreciate your team – and tell them that you do. I see blogs and social media posts that openly and, in my opinion often trivially, slam physicians as uncaring, inattentive, and difficult to work with. Another frequent physician criticism is that they’re overpaid professionals who could take lower salaries. That may be true, but I can promise you, no one pays a higher price to be a physician than the doctor and his or her family. The day I got my pacemaker, I thought my PCP and cardiologist were worth every penny they were paid. And you would have, too.
I hope you never have to find out.
So today, I’m thankful for my team, over 10 members led by an amazing primary care physician and friend, and joined by my rheumatologist and cardiologist, to name a few. You are amazing, and I thank God for you. Thank you for taking such great care of me and my family, even when I don’t make it easy. There’s a special crown waiting just for you. And for your families.
Praise Him chronically,