On a Dime
You acclimate to a new normal because life demands it. Step by step you find your way. It won’t be easy, but you will be better for it. Stronger. Life isn’t always fair, but it is one beautiful journey.
I had been putting it off going to the doctor for far too long. However, I finally decided it was time, and I was looking forward to seeing the positive results of all the healthy life changes I had been implementing. I was not expecting the phone call from my doctor saying; “We need to talk.” I was not expecting to have to go for more blood work and I sure as hell wasn’t expecting the “You have diabetes” phone call.
I have diabetes. Life slowed suddenly and unexpectedly. I was reeling. I didn’t eat sugar. Have lost a ton of weight and exercise daily. How could I have diabetes? For the first few hours after hearing the news, I was incredibly despondent. Why now? Why me? Then, getting ahold of my emotions, I slowed my roll.
Life changes on a dime.
I know this. I’ve lived it more times than I can count. I’ve made it through all of the other times life threw me a curveball. I would make it through this. Did I want to? No. Would I have chosen not to have sucky genetics? Yes. Did I have a choice? Not in getting diabetes, no. But I did have a choice on how I handled it.
It is a pointless waste of energy fighting something you cannot change. Sure, I could wail to the heavens and live in denial. I could bury my head in the sand and hope it magically went away. I could do a lot of things that would hold off the reality of the situation for a while. Or, I could dig in. Learn, research and find a way to pull some good from it.
I did what I always do. Research, learn and acclimate. Because life happens whether we want it to or not and we can either let it break us, or we can adapt to our new normal. Never easy. Never, ever easy. It is what it is though and what that is will be totally what you make it.
A few weeks later while trying to get home from work but finding myself sitting in snarled construction traffic, I received a phone call. I knew the second I heard my husband’s voice something was wrong. His father was in the hospital because of a severe heart attack. I went from sitting in traffic mentally working on a blog piece and figuring out what to have for dinner to crisis mode in an instant. Figuring out how to get out of traffic, home to my husband and into the hospital in the most controlled, fastest way possible.
The three weeks following that phone call have flown in an instant. I was two weeks into April before I even realized it. 14 hour days in ICU with his dad, home only to sleep and change, then back to the hospital first thing in the morning for rounds. Scary terms from Doctors. Bleak outlook. Millions of tubes, wires, and pumps. Constant beeping. Teams of doctors, nurses and techs working nonstop. Hours spent sitting in waiting rooms with strangers who were walking a similar journey. Holding your breath when the doctors came in because it was never, ever a good sign when they came themselves, as it was usually an indication, someone’s loved one had passed away. Yet, while your heart broke for the family losing a piece of their world, you clung to the hope you wouldn’t lose part of yours.
Exhaustion has permeated every single cell of my body for the past three weeks. Fear and sadness have been constant companions. It has been gut-wrenching to watch my Father In-law struggle with the reality of his mortality. Seeing him dig deep into a well inside of his soul to fight his way back from the edge of life. He did it, too. After many surgeries, he is finally, slowly, moving forward. Out of ICU, into rehab and now, for the moment living with us.
All within the past three weeks.
Life changes on a dime.
When you are in the middle of a crisis, it’s hard to catch your breath. Life is traveling at warp speed, spinning out of your control and trying to get perspective on anything is impossible. It’s an emotional roller coaster. Up to breathtaking heights, only to plummet so fast your whole world spins. Exhaustion, stress and a myriad of emotions make thinking clearly a Herculean effort and you find you just can’t. You don’t even want to try. You just want to make it through the day without collapsing. You stop thinking about tomorrow. You stop thinking about next week, next month. You’re only able to handle the moment.
Eventually, things calm down. The pieces of chance fall where they may, and you know for the moment where they land is entirely out of your control. Life is happening and regardless of how much you struggle, fight or deny it – things are going to change whether you want them to or not.
I most definitely have not asked for any of the changes I’ve had to acclimate to over the past month or so. I didn’t want to change my life to accept diabetes. I didn’t want to be pushed to the point of collapse wandering the halls of the ICU waiting for word if his surgery was successful or not. He didn’t want to face the signs his body had been giving him for a long time. Yet, it forced the issue with the heart attack and now, while thankful to be alive, he is completely overwhelmed with how drastically his life is going to have to change.
The new normal.
Life changes on a dime and just because you are heading one way doesn’t mean something isn’t going to come out of left field, blindside you and send you careening to your knees, wondering what the hell just happened. How did we end up here? Why us? Why now? What did we do to deserve this?
All questions I have asked myself a lot lately. Bringing my Father in law into our home to help ease him into his life changes and new normal means all of us are walking into a new normal. What our lives looked like a month ago is not even remotely close to what it looks like today. It would be so easy to cling to what was but doing so serves no purpose. What will be is going to happen and you can either drive yourself crazy lamenting on the injustice of it all or you can dig in and get to know your new reality. It doesn’t happen overnight. No one is ever just okay with massive changes that come out of the blue.
But you do what you have to do.
I became so focused on helping everyone else adapt, I forgot myself. Telling myself, there are only so many hours in the day, and I will get to me eventually. I know better. I can’t help anyone else if I run myself into the ground. The chaos of all of the changes and trying to figure out how to put all the new pieces together in some cohesive fashion had me spinning in circles. I had to remind myself to breathe and center. Retreating to the still calm within our own soul, that place we all have where the world and all of its craziness cannot penetrate is imperative when life gets mind boggling.
I needed a break from the chaos. I needed time with my words and my muses. I needed silence. I couldn’t hear my own thoughts and those thoughts were what was going to get me through to the other side of this particular life storm. I needed to stop long enough to embrace the knowledge that things are going to look a lot different in my life for a while and to make it all work and come together I need to make peace with this. I didn’t want to change direction at this point. What I have been working towards on my horizon did not include anything that I now have in front of me and part of me cries inside because of this.
Life is fluid. Change and chaos are inevitable. As is the quiet calm that follows every single storm you find yourself in the middle of. Learn to honor all of your feelings, learn to retreat within to find something to hold onto as you begin to rebuild from this moment. You will go forward changed, and things will most definitely look different. Learning to slow your roll, allowing yourself time to acclimate and being gentle with yourself will help you see all of the new pieces clearly. Then you shall be able to find ways to make them fit into your world in a way you are comfortable with and in control of. Understanding this won’t happen overnight is imperative. But, trust that it will happen.
You acclimate to a new normal because life demands it. Step by step you find your way. It won’t be easy, but you will be better for it. Stronger. Life isn’t always fair, but it is one beautiful journey. For there are moments to be had that will come out of the blue and take your breath away by the sheer joy within them. Happiness and contentment can and will be found if you do the work needed to learn and acclimate. Embrace instead of fight. Release that which you cannot control and focus only on what you can. Mostly, you control how you handle it. Cry. Scream if it makes you feel better. But then, refocus yourself.
Just keep moving forward. Slow or fast, whatever. Baby steps until you feel stronger. Then, once you find your stride – keep going. Own your world just as soon as you can and know that nothing will ever stop you because you are far too strong, far too experienced and far too amazing to be kept down for too long.
Believe it. Learn it. Live it.
4/21/2016 11:36:58 am
You did a fantastic job of explaining life and how we go through the process of planning normal day activities to changing perspectives and dealing with moment by moment decisions. But then you also realize and point out how we can not stay in that crazy world and keep our health. We have to work our way out. This is an awesome post.
4/22/2016 06:00:12 am
4/21/2016 11:38:43 am
Stunningly, beautifully, and touchingly expressed. Thank you for sharing.
4/22/2016 06:01:40 am
You're so welcome, my friend. Thank You for reading and taking the time for such a beautiful comment. Made my heart smile.
4/21/2016 12:28:35 pm
This is such a beautiful saying. Thank you for sharing it. 😊
4/22/2016 06:00:40 am
Thank You, Sherry! You are more than welcome.
4/22/2016 06:49:46 am
Coffee brought me here but obviously I needed to read some of these remarkable insights...especially "don't forget you're human...." I don't' know where I'm headed but I'll know it when I get there...Thank you for the encouragement...
4/23/2016 08:02:57 am
Well, I thank coffee for bringing you here and you for hanging around. Your comment made me smile. I am so happy that you found some soul words here and encouragement. It's amazing how life brings exactly what we need at the right moment.
4/22/2016 07:47:42 am
This is a powerful piece of writing Jenn . I used to think that the following phrase was corny, but " The only thing in life that is certain is change " is so very true. I too have been through a few too many of life's calamities and find that the moments of peace and solitude following disasters are the most cherished. Here's hoping you can find peace in your soul .
4/23/2016 08:18:21 am
4/22/2016 05:59:03 pm
WOW!! I always find your perspective and views on life so enlightening which causes more contemplation on my part. LOVE this blog, but so sorry for the events that have happened to you lately!
4/23/2016 08:21:03 am
4/23/2016 08:01:28 pm
Wow, Jenn .... bless you. God watch over you and your loved ones. After reading this one you've posted .... I am taking time to appreciate my many blessings here at this point in time, even as I have been struggling through boredom and depression and fear .... again .... some of it quite justified .... but I got back up again then and will today too. Be well and I wish you peace. xox love to you too
4/24/2016 10:23:07 am
Great blog Jenn, I so relate to 'life changes,' I remember the day I took my now 33-year-old son to the Dr. at age 12 to see why he was losing weight, NOT expecting the diagnosis of Type1 diabetes to enter into the picture-Shocked! At the time, I did not know too much about the dis~ease, except that you need insulin to live, without it, you go into shock and die. Talk about a life change! Yes, life changes on a dime. So much more goes with ALL those shifts. We are all pretty amazing humans. If we are blessed enough, we learn to lean in and get to know the change with resisting too much. It sounds like you have it covered for now. Thank you for your heartfelt wisdom Jenn, always appreciated. Love your writings. Sending you love!
4/26/2016 07:40:46 am
Thank you Jen, I can so relate. There's days I feel like a human doing, not a human being. I have both diabetes & take care of my elderly father whose health is failing. And yes, on a dime & in a NY second life changes. Some days I trudge (which means walking w purpose) sometimes I soar. Great piece! Jan
Loved your article. It will undoubtedly touch the hearts of many. There is so much more upheaval in life than our "Facebook pages" would ever reveal. Everyone thinks everyone else's life is sane and normal and under control...it takes real courage to portray the Truth. Thanks for being courageous.
5/4/2016 10:31:56 am
Beautifully said! Not sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but I'm so glad I did! These are powerful words that express how messy change can be in a beautifully profound way. Thank you so much for sharing this!
5/4/2016 12:42:54 pm
Oh, my goodness! Love & hugs to you, Jenn!!!
5/4/2016 01:23:53 pm
Jenn ~ I just want to thank you for writing this. It seems you and I have walked the same road. I am still on this journey of pain of not knowing what the outcome is going to be. I have always been one to try to control what I can't. I feel as if the doctors are moving at a snails pace with my moms treatment. We need some sunshine and good news for her right now. At first I lost a lot of sleep over it. But now, I am making sure to get the sleep I need. I'm no good if I'm exhausted. I can only hope the tide will turn and I can see my mom out of the hospital and finally home!
5/23/2016 08:18:08 pm
Jen; This is just a first small sign. It's like the boomerang you so love to speakbout by yourself? You will get more and more sick; and not only you. It's just the beginning and a small sign for what will reach you soon.
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