Today I feel stuck somewhere between the worlds of health and illness. I walk through the house restlessly and dazed as if I have forgotten what I used to do with my time. For the last several years I had been busy earning degrees and trying to decide what I wanted to do when I grow up. 🙂 I was looking forward to many things. All of those thoughts and feelings seem to have faded away. I guess I feel as though I have run out of time.
When we were first married we had our daughter right away. So it was decided that I would stay at home with her until she started school. Then I would go back to school and then to work. My husband’s job is quite physical in harsh weather, so we thought perhaps he would work more while were younger, then he would get a degree while I worked.
After our second daughter my health started to fail. The process actually began just after the birth of our first child, but it wasn’t apparent until after the second, when I had a similar episode of illness as now.
This has put more financial pressure on my husband to stay at a job he dislikes. He is such a good hardworking man who deserves better. In the 2008 crash they froze his pension and took 15% of his pay; instead of five more years to retirement, he now has almost 20. We lost real estate and our savings; we are blue collar, not well off or rich. We live in the city not the suburbs. It is easier to recover from loss when you are younger because you have more time.
My health has declined sporadically and the work I used to do from home has dried up. This last year has been difficult. Our youngest daughter was injured in the accident and has struggled with school and doctor visits. She is sweet and smart and funny. She has had trouble with her memory and erratic sleep. Our oldest has moved back home after losing her job; she is still looking. She is engaged to be married to a nice young man who joined the army; they are putting it off until they are more financially stable. Thank goodness she was here to help me through this illness.
This year also brought tragic news from close friends. Their 20ish son was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer; a nice shy young man who is adorably geeky. Shortly afterward his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer after beating breast cancer 10 years ago.
After moving out of state 10 years ago, younger family members have moved back into the area with their father, who then died suddenly. Now they are struggling to establish themselves; newly divorced with young children. I have a niece, a young mother of three, dying of cancer. She lost her mother, my oldest sister, to emphysema several years ago.
I am lucky to still have my parents and in-laws, but their health and well-being are fading. I feel a sort of dread that we will lose them soon; I love them so much. They live out of state and there isn’t much I can do; I feel stuck in that way too. Our family used to be very close and it gave us a sense of belonging and strength.
Some of these thoughts and worries are larger than others. Their imbalances are greatly affecting my already shaky equilibrium. I suppose I feel it more when I am weakened by illness; I certainly have more time to think about it. It makes me feel much older than I am; I feel stuck between young and old age as well.
During much of this illness I have been waking at 5am with anxiety; or more precisely palpitations that grow into anxious ruminations or repetitive thoughts. I have pain, nausea, gagging and vomiting. Each day is different as sometimes I feel almost normal and other days are followed by many of fatigue. Everything feels heavier when you are too weak to carry it.