Downhill From Here

Some people say, "It's all downhill from here," meaning that the going should be easy from now on. 

Others see downhill in a different light.

My health is going downhill, rather too quickly for my liking, and it's not a good thing. I'm in constant pain. Horrible pain. Sleep at night is difficult to come by, but I can pass out cold just about anytime between 4 and 7pm most days, sometimes earlier. At times, just walking from the house to the car is overwhelming. Other days, I seem to have energy to spare, if only my body would cooperate. 

As my health is declining, I find myself bracing for a plummet in my mood. After all, looking back just one year, to my wonderful Camp Calumet and local hiking experiences, remembering how good I felt, how in tune with my body and out of touch with extreme pain I was, could be quite depressing. Remembering how it felt living in my body last year puts into sharp relief the increase of pain, the decrease in mobility, and the pounds added thanks to pain and prednisone. 

But there's one big difference.

I'm not in that newly-diagnosed with a horrible disease panic. I'm not in an off-meds-for-medical-testing funk, nor am I in the phase of hoping to find medical treatment will work. I'm in new territory altogether - perhaps an even more frightening place that I've been since before diagnosis. I should be terrified that my meds are no longer enough to keep my diseases at bay. I should be angry that I'm in so much pain during what should be the best time of my year.

Somehow I'm not. I know enough now to expect the rollercoaster ride that is autoimmune disease. Medications lose efficacy. Flares happen for no apparent reason. This is what my life is. If I've learned nothing else over the course of the past few years, it's that it's up to me whether this disease drags me down with it, or whether I not only live life to the fullest, but celebrate and cherish every moment I possibly can. 

As I type, I'm battling extreme back pain and a migraine that just won't go away - while my youngest is searching for a lost sandal to pack for our week at Camp Calumet. In a few hours we'll be packing the van, and in twenty-four hours we'll be relaxing on the beach of Lake Ossipee. I may still be in pain then, and most likely every day of our vacation, but no matter if I'm able to hike, or merely able to lounge on the beach devouring book after book, I'll be thankful for what I can do. You see, after going through previous struggles and coming to terms with what the future most likely holds for me, I'm fairly sure nothing can come close to making me go down the why-me rabbit hole of chronic illness. No matter what happens, I will always count my blessings - even the ones that look more like struggles.  

It really is all downhill from here. 


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