Must I educate everyone?

August 5, 2013

I went to a party the other night. (As a side note, YAY! I got out of the house and went to a party!) I know the hosts through a former job, and I had met a lot of the other guests through them and through that same job. I hadn’t seen them in years, so while at a normal party one or two people may ask, “What do you do?” at this party everyone asked. I hate that question, but it’s hard to avoid. I mentioned to one guy that I was unemployed. He said he wished he could get that gig. I was about to respond, “Yeah, it’s a great gig except for the lack of any income!” and just laugh it off, but our host overheard and mentioned that I was out on disability.

So here’s the problem: he shouldn’t have said that. I didn’t mind, but in general, it should be up to the person in question to disclose their disability status or not. It’s no one else’s place to do that. So I feel like I should say something so that he knows and won’t do it to anyone else. After all, I don’t mind, but there’s a good chance that someone else will. My guess is that he was trying to help me out but clearing things up, but there many times and many people where I don’t want it mentioned. After all, this was a party. I didn’t want to discuss my health – I wanted to have fun!

The thing is, I’m tired of educating everyone. Yes, I’d like to help him avoid offending someone else, or making someone else uncomfortable, but do I need to do that? I mean, it’s not my job to educate everyone, right? And it’s exhausting to be doing that constantly. I like to think of myself as a health activist, but it doesn’t have to be 24/7. At some point, enough is enough, and I think I just hit the point where I draw the line.

I like to educate others. Really, I do. I help whenever I can. This weekend I offered advice to parents whose teenager recently came out as gay and is having a hard time (I’m bi.) Today I’m helping someone newly dealing with chronic pain figure out the support services that exist in our area. But must I always correct honest mistakes? Maybe not. Maybe I’ll just let this one slide.

And yet, I feel guilty. So maybe I’ll say something after all….?

In the war of Brain vs. Body: body always wins

August 3, 2013

I just had to correct this post title. I wrote “brain always wins” by mistake. Wishful thinking.

Yesterday I went clothes shopping. Thanks to steroids and gluten-free diets and all sorts of other stuff, my weight

Yesterday's cause of today's pain

Yesterday’s cause of today’s pain

has fluctuated a lot. Two winters ago I was a size 14. Now I’m a size 6. Last year I muddled through. This year I had to give in and I managed to buy two pairs of jeans and a top. But I paid a price beyond dollars.

My mom came along. She’s a lot of fun and great company, so I was thrilled to have her with me. She’s also really helpful. She handles hangers and zippers and other difficult stuff. Even so, by the end, my body had had it. Today I’m still suffering for it. I’m in a lot of pain and I’m really tired (though not as tired as previous trips, so I think my supplements are really working!) It doesn’t feel good, but I know from experience there’s nothing at all I can do except give in to my body and rest, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

The other day I saw a promising new doctor. And I finally got the check from the insurance company. It was a good day! Then the next day, a friend won her own difficult insurance battle, finally getting coverage for her son. We want to celebrate, which for us means hanging out to talk about how wonderful it is! We may include desserts if we can find something we can both eat. It’s simple, but effective. So she invited me over to her place. She even offered me a gluten-free dinner. It sounded great, but I was still tired and in pain. I told her I’d get back to her.

What was I waiting for? Did I think the pain would go away in half an hour? I’ve had this pain for many, many years, and I know it doesn’t change that fast. How about the exhaustion? That’s newer, but I still know better. No, this was a case of wishful thinking. I wanted to go to her place, but I knew I probably couldn’t. I wanted to feel better, even though it was incredibly unlikely. My brain was ready to jump in the car and drive the short distance to her place. (She lives so close that she walks it, but of course I can’t do that.) My brain was already figuring out what time I should leave when my body gave me another shot of pain as a reminder that I just wasn’t going anywhere. I want to, but that doesn’t mean it will happen.

I’m trying to remain positive. I will see her another day. I hadn’t planned to go out tonight anyway, and this was last-minute. I could have just as easily turned her down because I had other plans or a date (another bit of wishful thinking.) Ok, other plans would be a lot better than pain and exhaustion, but you know what I mean. Watching a movie and eating popcorn isn’t the worst thing. Or maybe she can come to my place? I haven’t heard back yet. The point is, it is what it is and I can’t change it. I just have to accept it. Doesn’t that sound so zen and mature of me? I wish I always felt this way. Some days I get mad or sad. Sometimes I scream or cry. But today I’m handling it ok.

Because the thing is, I should have realized it the second she invited me over: in the war of Brain vs. Body, Body always wins. Always. Every time. So I might as well just accept it today.

I’ll accept it today, but tomorrow I’ll go back to fighting it with new treatments and more research!

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