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The Importance of Listening to Your Body Instead of 'Pushing Through' a Flare

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The hardest thing to do sometimes is get through a flare.  I say get through it because there really is no other way to describe it, through the fire. The distance from Point A to Point B feels like it is lined with barbed wire and traps of all sorts, think moats and crocodiles, or killer clowns, and maybe some natural disasters thrown in for good measure.

It is hard to see getting through it, and having to maintain some sense of normalcy in your life. Just because you’re sick you don’t get to stop being a mother or a wife – and some of us aren’t able to stop working day-to-day jobs that we need in order to pay our bills. It is hard to maintain that you will be alright when things are so tender that the tapping of your keyboard hurts your hands and your wrists, your neck hurts from simply holding up your head or turning side to side, your eyes burn and you are downright exhausted to the point of malaise.

Miserable might be a good word to describe it.

I thought working, or rather, going back to work would help me – give me this sense of purpose that would allow me to feel healthy again. The truth is, I was lying to myself. It doesn’t feel like the right decision as my body protests every step I still continue to take. When it comes down to it, I really didn’t have a choice and if I knew then what I know now, I would realize that I felt healthier, more myself when I was home, rested and taking care of myself.

For those of us who really have no choice but to “work through it,” I can honestly say sometimes it hurts to win that battle. A day of pushing through the most menial and mundane of tasks can exhaust someone like me to the point of nausea. You are forced to have conversations you don’t want to have when just breathing feels like something that requires meticulous planning and thought. Sometimes there just isn’t enough and running on fumes is the only choice you really have.

What I want to say is, this year, I learned all of that isn’t true. You shouldn’t have to push through it, you shouldn’t have to be at work, in pain or uncomfortable. Every person should be able to choose themselves, and their health, and make that a priority. We should be able to respect and listen to our bodies and what they are telling us to do, because sometimes that little whisper turns into a shout. When I didn’t listen, I ended up with three days of infusion therapy, another kidney biopsy and enough medicine to down a horse and make my hair, and possibly all of my tears, fall out.

purple text that says 'you are not your illness' surrounded by yellow hearts

Then I learned to give myself a damn break. I figured out how to understand that resting isn’t laziness, and love isn’t pity. I learned that life is too short, and maybe I shouldn’t be working, but until the day comes when that’s behind me, I will honor what I know – I am more important than it all.

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Getty Image by MangoStar_Studio

Originally published: February 16, 2018
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