Monday, November 07, 2011

If You Have Your Health...

The old adage is true: if you have your health, you have everything.

Yesterday I took a drink of soda and nearly choked on it for some unknown reason, leading to a full-blown coughing fit. I'm fine, but incongruously, my chest muscles started hurting and it made my normally bearable chronic tension-headache pain even worse.

Suffice to say, I was in a lot of pain yesterday afternoon and had to abandon working on my next novel. I took a nap instead.

My husband shook his head at me last night after I woke up and he said, "All it took was one thing to throw your day completely off."


And that's just plain frustrating. I try to eat right and my goal to exercise three times a week at Curves remains a solid, do-able one that I reach most of the time. So it's not like I'm sitting on my bum, eating junk food and doing nothing but being a slug. I am trying to get healthy. I've even started going to a massage therapist to see he if he can help with the tension headaches. As you know, I've been to an acupuncturist for my "female" problems and I can't even begin to tell you how many doctors I've been to over the last ten years.
Maybe I could train my cat to type for me when I have an "unwell" day...

But it all boils down to this: I'm not a healthy person. Hardly one day goes by that I feel good - whether it's a bad headache, a sick tummy, aching muscles, menstrual problems, fatigue, etc. My poor daughter doesn't understand and has asked me why I am always sick. It's hard to tell her why because even I don't know why.

Accepting that I am not a healthy person is hard. My husband said yesterday that I really was a "frail" person and I had to agree with him. I am frail physically in a lot of ways. It doesn't take much to make me feel miserable and detour me from my intended goals for the day, whether that means reading a book or doing housework or spending time with my daughter or whatever. It plain stinks.

However, despite having a fragile body, I like to think my mind isn't fragile. In fact, after what I've been through in my life, I'd say I'm a strong person, but only because God made me strong by putting me through situations where I needed Him and His strength.

I'm becoming more and more aware that each day is unique. Some days I may feel great while others I may feel lousy. The key is not to chastise myself for the days I feel awful. Again, it goes back to self-love. Why should I get angry at myself if my stomach starts to hurt? Or if my headache becomes so unbearable I need to take a pain pill and go to sleep? That only exacerbates it all.

Acceptance is a beautiful thing, but it is incredibly hard to achieve sometimes, especially when there are so many things I want to do.

As a writer, probably one of the best things I can do is write about my experiences. I firmly believe that writers were meant to share their words with the world and in so doing, help others. That being said, I hope you don't mind if some of my blog posts center on how I deal with living with chronic illness and pain. Because really, I am a writer, and unfortunately, chronic illness/pain is part of my life.

And that means the other adage is true, too: Live life one day at a time.


  1. You certainly sound strong to me. I can't relate because I am blessed with good healthy about 95% of the time. You seem to have your head on straight.

    I hope you find what ails you. I have another friend who's in the same boat. I wish the best for you.

  2. Melissa, I am sorry you have to deal with all of this. Big, big hugs for you! You have my sympathy and support, and if its any consolation, you never know who may be going through something similar and needs someone to reach out to. There are things in my life I used to deeply regret, but now I see those experiences as a means of maybe helping someone else out who needs to know they aren't alone in what they are facing. Love you:)

  3. Kelley - Aw, thanks. Some days are better than others. My bad days are not good for me mentally because I get so sick and tired of being sick and tired!

    Valerie, girl, love you, too. And you're right - sometimes we can help others through our experiences that we regret. I firmly believe this is how God makes us stronger and able to help others.

  4. Well said, Melissa. And you know, we can be strong, even when we're sensitive in so many ways.

  5. Janna - Amen. Being strong just doesn't mean physically strong. Spiritually and emotionally are just as important. :-)

  6. My prayers are with you. One of my fave novels is Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss; the MC battles health issues and it's just a wonderful story, your post reminded me of it.

    Blog about all that you feel; part of our roads as writers is the rest of what we live. Just as we can't ignore the stories within us, we can't shirk the rest of ourselves. Again, my love and prayers are with you!

  7. Anna - Thank you. :-) I'm going to check out that book. Just as I was writing this blog post, I had an idea for a character who suffers from chronic illness. I have no idea why I didn't think of it before. LOL

  8. I'm sorry you didn't have a good day yesterday :/

    But I like the idea of blogging about how you feel. That's what writing's all about, capturing life in our own words. So go for it, and we'll share it all with you!

    P.S. That kitty would make a cute mascot, too :)

  9. I'm so sorry that you have to endure chronic pain & illness. The fact that you keep pursuing your dreams despite the setbacks is a testimony to your strength. I think that writing about what you're dealing with in your life is good for you and will help others, too. There are so many people who live with chronic pain. I hope that your doctors are able to cure you one of these days, and I'll pray for your health. Take care.

  10. Yes, please share. I have a friend with similar issues. It would be helpful to understand the struggles tied to that. I am praying for something to be found to improve your situation.
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  11. Of course writing about your human experiences (even the not so pleasant ones) is acceptable on this blog. Who knows, you may even find some readers with good advice! My advice right now? Never give up! Keep searching for the right doctor and the right treatment. In the meantime, live the good days to the fullest and know that the bad days will pass.

  12. I believe you are a strong person just by reading all you have done in the past years. When I first met you, you were on your own in Europe if I recall--I was amazed that you could do that! And you raised your daughter a lone awhile, you work, you redid your place, you loved again. I admire you!

  13. Joanne - Feeling better today, thanks!

    Lyn - Thanks for your good thoughts and prayers. :-)

    Catherine - I sometimes wonder if I'll ever stop looking for a way to make me feel better. :-) I hope your friend finds some answers, too!

    More Than - Wise words indeed! I hope someone can benefit from my experiences.

    Terri - Awww, thanks. :-) I sometimes look back at what I've done and marvel that I had the strength to do it.

  14. I have two sister in laws that suffer with chronic pain. It is not an easy task and can be pretty disheartening. Looks like you have a great attitude though.

  15. Patti - Thanks. I try, but some days the attitude is definitely better than others. :-)

  16. Sorry to hear you're having to go through all this, Melissa. It's so disheartening when we don't feel well. I'm fortunate in that I'm fairly healthy but I get very down if I feel off for a couple of days.

    I'll certainly vouch for you being a strong person. You travelled to England alone for one thing. That takes courage!

  17. Shirley - It is disheartening, yes, and some days are better than others, but looking back on what I've managed to accomplish despite it all is a good feeling. And I got to meet you in person when I went to England, so that is another bonus! :-)

  18. I'm so sorry you had such a bad day. I think writers are the best people to explain things as they explain tham so well.

  19. Debs - I know one thing for sure - I'm much better explaining things in the written word than I am talking! :-)

  20. Oh Melissa, I hope you feel better soon. Your family sound really supportive which is fab! And I hope you can train the cat to help out, you dictate - it will write! Take care, T x

  21. I think it's important for people who live with chronic pain and ailments to share those experiences, to help others who might be suffering the same thing know they're not alone. It seems the conventional medical establishments just want to put a band-aid on the problem and hope it all goes away, since they can't pinpoint what the problem truly is. The more stories that get into the mainstream about this the better. I wish you could find some relief!

  22. Firstly, I'm pleased to meet you - thank you for your comments on my blog. I hope that you find the time to explore art - it is such a wonderful expression and sometimes when the words aren't there or you don't want to say it out loud - the art helps. It sounds as if you really battle with your health - I was just thinking the other day how lucky I am to be healthy. (Perhaps not as healthy in the mind at times - but hell you can't have it all ways can you). I agree that writing about ones experiences is important, this blogging world is a wonderful way to exchange our feelings, experiences, to encourage one another and reach across oceans and continents - to bring a bit of love and caring in a world basically gone quiet mad. Again glad to have met you.

  23. I do so feel for you, it must be so dfficult to live with ill health. But yyes you are a strong person - your writing shows that. Take care.

  24. Talei - I have AWESOME family support. I am so blessed to have a terrific husband and daughter who understand. :-)

    Betsy - I wish my doctors could figure things out, too, and believe me, I've thought about the band-aid analogy more than once while I've been in the doctor's waiting room. :-)

    Hi Clare! Thanks for stopping by. I think you're right in that art is such a wonderful form of expression. Perhaps I could channel some of my frustration with my health through it. Or at the very least, it could take my mind off it for awhile. ;-)

    Flower - Thank you. :-)

  25. Sorry to be coming in late...I've been under a rock with my manuscript. To me, getting up and keeping on through chronic pain and illness means you ARE strong. I have a co-worker with fibromyalgia; when she was diagnosed, she said the best advice she got from her doctor was to keep moving, even just a little, no matter how much it hurt. And she did. Took several years, but she's through the worst of it now.

    I admire your tenacity and commitment to health. I hope it helps to know that you're an inspiration to many others!

  26. Thanks so much, Christine. I am trying to be more gentle with myself and not feel guilty if I don't make it to the gym or spend the evening on the couch. But I also have to not allow myself to whine too much and to live life as best as I can. :-)


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