Trying to Make Good Decisions for My Health

Christmas 09 059

This morning I made a good decision for my health, but I am still feeling unsettled and like a failure.

For weeks now, I have known that a workshop was being offered through my work this weekend, on Friday night and Saturday morning. The moment this event was announced, I immediately knew it was going to be extremely difficult for me to attend because I never schedule back to back a late evening and an early morning. I took all the necessary precautions including having an honest discussion with my supervisor about my concerns and limitations. This conversation was absolutely necessary because I am still crawling out of a bad setback, and pushing myself too much at this point would be disastrous. I am finally up and sitting in my comfy chair for most of the day instead of living life between my bed and the couch.  I do not want to lose that progress!

My supervisor was exceedingly understanding. I work in a church environment, so she knows more details of my health that I would likely disclose in another work setting. She said I could decide as the weekend went along if I would be coming both days and how long I would stay each day.

Friday night went well with no major complications, and falling asleep that night I was 100% set on also going Saturday morning. But Saturday morning, I woke up at 5AM, and my mind began to race as I weighed the pros and cons of going.

So many thoughts racing through my head.

I’ve made so much progress in the last month and a half, and I would be devastated if I lost it. But what will people think when I don’t show up? I feel about 50% sure that I will be ok and not experience serious repercussions if I go. That seems like a HUGE risk. If I go, and it goes well, I will feel more confident in myself and what I can do. I also really want to attend and hear the material being presented. One day is not worth it for a month lying on the couch. How bad is my pain REALLY? Am I making this out to be worse than it is? Both my supervisor and the program director have back problems – will they think I’m exaggerating how limiting mine are? Are people just being nice, but on the inside think I should just shut up and do these things? Do I think I should just shut up and do things????

 And on and on my mind turned for the next two hours until my alarm clock went off at 7:00AM. Please tell me I am not alone in this!

I woke up at 7:00AM and decided I would see how I felt after taking a shower. Well, that sealed my decision immediately, as just standing up for a 10 minute shower led to a spike in pain levels. And not just pain, but pain in the right place and the right type of pain that comes before a setback.

I texted my supervisor to double check it was ok if I missed, and she immediately responded it was no problem. Relieved, I fell back into bed and slept until noon.

Looking back, I am 95% positive I made the right decision. I get this specific type of deep pain in my left SI that means bad news if I don’t rest. Other types of pain I get – muscle aches, pain that is more symmetrical, burning pain etc… – can be just as or more severe, but are not such clear harbingers of an impending setback to square one. Deciding not to go was best for my short term and long term health. It was one needed decision in a whole line of decision that I am hoping will lead to a return to some form of stability. I have been in fairly stable places before, so I know it is possible. I just need to keep making decisions like this that are better for my health and not based on what other people think of me.

So, feeling confident that I made the right decision, I am hating that I feel like a failure in life for not being able to go. Right now, I am erring on the side of doing less. In the past I have been in places of “just doing things because I need to live my life even if it hurts,” but I am taking on a new strategy right now of saying “no” to present activities for my future benefit. My recent thoughts on being fearless have led me to believe that sometimes saying no is the bravest choice. So, today I am choosing to live a little more fearlessly, saying no to events I want to attend because I know it will be better in the long run.

19 Comments

  1. You are not alone! I am SO with you on this one! Just last night, I made the decision to stay at home from our hometown high school homecoming football game because I knew I had a big day today (son’s cross country meet and other son’s first homecoming dance). My body ached and I just knew that going to the game would be too much, as in over the edge…setback. I felt like the only person in our town who wasn’t there! Friends texted me to ask where I was, and I know some of them don’t get it. But thankfully some do. And one of them even texted that she was glad I know how to “listen to my body.”

    You made the right decision. Experience has taught you well.

    1. Yes, such hard decisions. And sometimes discouraging that even when I know it is the right decision, it still doesn’t feel good. Having supporting friends and coworkers does make it easier! But doesn’t help the feeling of missing out…

      Helps to have people comment and say “me too.” 🙂

      1. Your most welcome. I’m speaking from personal experience. It took me 7 years of being miserable from chronic pain until I realized I needed to start taking care of myself. It was very difficult for those close to me to accept I was saying no and I was taking care of myself first and foremost! I think what was extremely disheartening was the fact that I have always taken care of everyone ie family & friends. Then I got sick and besides my husband and two adult children no one was there for me and I do mean no one. This solidified for me that I am number 1 and I come first. I’m always here for you if you want to chat. Again, I’m confident you made the right decision : )

      2. It really helps to have people affirm my decision, especially coming from so many years of personal experience! In the back of my head, I keep thinking that maybe, just maybe, if I make good decisions now, I won’t have to live with this forever. And if I do have to live with it forever, maybe I can at least prevent it from getting worse. Thank you, thank you for your encouragement.

  2. You have to take care of yourself and listen to your instincts about what your body needs. I know it is hard but it does NOT mean you are a failure. My suggestion…stop beating yourself up for actually taking care of yourself…after all no else is going to do it for you!

    1. Thank you! I know I need to get past that feeling of failure. I need to get in a new mindset – knowing I made the right decision should make me feel good that I trusted my instincts and paid attention to what my body was saying. It was a successful decision, not a failure 🙂

  3. I would just be reiterating what others have said, but you need to hear it–I can tell. I understand what you are dealing with. YOU CARE about many things: what others think of you, how you comport yourself at work, not letting your supervisor down, keeping up with your job-related knowledge and skills AND YOU CARE about your well-being. I think in the short run people may have been comforted that you are doing what is expected of you (by attending), but in the long run they will respect you for taking care of yourself. People that understand this will tell you to do so because the job will be there even if you aren’t. Things will keep going without you. It’s easier for others to care about your health when they see that YOU CARE about it. Be calm in your decision to take care of you–you’re the only you you’ve got!

    1. You are so right. There are so many reasons why it was ok for me to not attend, even though it was a work function. Technically it was additional, unpaid work not in my contract. I spoke up about my concerns ahead of time, and I did not have a critical role in making things go smoothly. Basically the biggest loss is that I didn’t get to hear the information, and I will follow up and get notes from another counselor this week. And, surprisingly, thankfully, my supervisor totally gets it. She wasn’t upset at all and completely supported and encouraged my decision to stay home. I am so blessed to have that. I think it helps that I have never missed a day of work for my health, mostly because I am so careful about how I block out and schedule my time to make sure I have rest days in-between. They know I am reliable and only miss things if absolutely necessary.

      Thank you, your words are so helpful and encouraging.

  4. It sounds as if you have very understanding colleagues — something to be thankful for. Ultimately, however, you report to God who knows your heart. Rest in this. Thank you for sharing your process of arriving at the right response.

  5. Making the decision to listen to your body and having the courage to act on what was right for you is absolutely the right choice. You are worth every bit of love and care that you give yourself. Once we KNOW that God is love and Love is really all there is; then we come to understand that we are not separate from God and therefore we must take care of the precious gift of life that we have been given…which is really his…(know ye not that your body is the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 1. Cor 3:16…..) When you come to KNOW this, you realize that loving yourself and honoring your body (by listening to and caring for it as necessary), there is no need or place for guilt.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I do agree so strongly that God calls us to care for our physical bodies. I am wrestling between that truth and also calls to serve one another. Sometimes they don’t seen to fit together and I’m still figuring that out. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I really feel you in this post, we have to make these decisions every day, sometimes every hour.. I am curious if you have read the spoon theory. I have recently looked it up, as i kept hearing the word ‘spoonie’ floating around in chronic pain discussions. I think you would like and relate as i did.. “are you a spoonie” is what looked up very interesting perspective of our lives with chronic pain. Thank you for your post. <3

Leave a Reply