I have a hangover. My mouth is dry, my head is pounding, my body is screaming at me to just stay in bed. But it's not because I had an exciting night on the town or even because I shared a bottle of wine with my husband. In fact, due to my autoimmune hepatitis, I can't even have one drink. It's all due to Remicade, the medication that allows my psoriatic arthritic body to function. And lucky me - the hangover doesn't last just hours or the better part of a day - it can last three or four days. These days, the nausea sticks around and the headache comes and goes for weeks. It's just not fair! If I'm going to suffer like this, I'd prefer it be after too many margaritas.
Some days I feel completely overwhelmed by the complexities of living with multiple illnesses and with spending so much time feeling physically bad in one way or another. I can never seem to keep straight when I have to get bloodwork done for which doctor, as I see a rheumatologist, a gastroenterologist, a hepatologist, and an endocrinologist. I'm never sure if what I'm experiencing is a side effect of medication, a symptom of one of my illnesses, or another ailment altogether. It's frustrating that the common symptom of all my medical issues is fatigue. I live in an almost perpetual state of exhaustion. It's hard. It's more than hard. It's impossible. At times I just want to stomp my feet and rail at the heavens ... please take all this away and let me be!
Some days I just can't help but feel overwhelmed by it all. I just want a day off from sick. A day off from tired. A day off from the 24/7 job of managing my illnesses. And that's an ok thing to want, a perfectly acceptable way to feel.
But I can't let that feeling take over my life, be the norm. What kind of life would that be? So when tears stream down my cheeks for no apparent reason, I take it as a sign that my cup o' can't cope runneth over and relief is needed. Now. I write through it, pray through it, rest through it, play through it, and invite things into my life that relieve instead of overwhelm.
Inspiring books, walks with my kids, rant sessions with a friend who understands, and writing, praying, writing, and praying some more are some of my most effective relief valves. They allow me to remember that God's got this. That each day is a gift, and only I can decide what to do with and how to feel about what's inside. That in each moment lives a sanctuary of God's peace, should I open myself to feel it. That I can lay down my worries and my anger and all that stuff that rages through my brain and rest in thankfulness for the multitude of blessings in my life. And then my cup runneth over with gratitude and peace.