Practicing Mental Diligence and Enjoying Life
I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted!
This has been a year for the books. We have all been through a lot, and now the year is coming to an end. I’m welcoming the new year with open arms. To use a golf analogy, we’re on the 17th hole of an 18-hole course, and I plan on winning.
As the saying goes, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” And as I like to say, strap in and enjoy the ride. A new adventure awaits!
It seems like I’m facing more challenges than in years past. It’s already difficult living with a chronic medical condition that limits my lifestyle. The current challenges don’t help me or my community.
I’m used to moving around to keep myself active and to help with my continued rehabilitation. I’ve been enjoying getting back in the groove at the gym, but that will change again as the gyms shut down due to a new surge in COVID-19 cases. I’m keeping a positive attitude that it can only get better.
Mental diligence has worked for me in the past. There’s no sense in thinking it won’t work again. When I fully direct my focus toward something and exercise my true mental diligence, anything is possible.
Pause and rewind
Last week, my daughter celebrated her 21st birthday. Three years ago, I thought I wouldn’t see this day. In 2017, I suffered the first of several spontaneous pneumothoraces involving both lungs thanks to pulmonary sarcoidosis. We traveled rough roads to get to this point, but we focused, and here we are.
This is a true milestone for my “Lil Pumpkin.” Little did I know she already had plans to celebrate, which didn’t include her mother or me. At the seasoned age of 21, and with a wealth of life experiences under her belt, she decided she wanted to celebrate with her brother — in Mexico.
I was reluctant at first. She and my son both sat down with me and explained the trip, their plans, and how they were going to keep themselves safe in this “new normal” we live in. I thought about it deeply. The more I thought about it, the more worried I became about possible outcomes. There were no benefits to cycling through those possibilities in my head. Reluctantly but confidently, I gave them the OK.
I often worry about my family and myself. I have to pause to remind myself that if I’m not in a good place, I can’t be in a good place for them. After I thought about it, I realized I had given my kids most of the important life instructions they would need. I had also told them about the pitfalls they might face along the way, having seen most of them firsthand growing up in South Philly.
My problem is becoming the “care-needer” rather than the caregiver. The good thing is that my children are spending time together. Experiences matter.
Press play and continue
While they were away, the house seemed lonely with just my wife and me. She’s been working from home since April, and I think at times we should socially distance for our own sanity and safety, but it’s all good. We enjoy each other’s company, but like many couples, it’s time for us to miss each other.
One day, after I got home from the gym, I decided to shave and clean up. Not that anyone is going to see how handsome I still am because I have to wear a mask, but it makes me feel more confident when I pamper myself a bit.
I took a good look in the mirror at the scars from the chest tubes I had a few years ago — eight in total! I even noticed a few scars from where the doctors had to release air from my chest due to subcutaneous emphysema. Thank goodness for hair! It was an awakening moment.
Sometimes I take what I’ve been through for granted, and I can’t afford to do that. Each of us goes through something that doesn’t seem fair. We all have those “why me” moments. But in the long run, if we remain mentally diligent and focused on the things that directly affect us, we’ll be fine.
That moment reminded me of a video I did when I got out of the hospital. Don’t lose yourself in the day-to-day nonsense. Reconnect with the things that bring peace to your environment and contribute to your continued health. The worst is in the past; it’s what’s ahead that leads to tomorrow. Love life!
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.