Monday, November 11, 2013

Some Progress, Some Hits, Some Misses

It’s been a few months since I posted anything to my blog. In that time I have experienced a number of changes, some progress, some falling back. But on my last post I stated that I had accepted where I was with my liver disease, PSC. And was happy about it. That was in late June this year.

Now nearly six months later I can say I’ve learned a lot, I’ve been up and I’ve been down, I have new energy that I didn’t know I’d ever experience again, and I’ve been trying new treatments that are working. The progress with acupuncture and a new psychotherapist has had its fits and starts, but it’s working.

I found an acupuncturist, quite serendipitously, who specializes in sleeping problems. Sleep was one of my biggest challenges because for close to a year all I was able to sleep at night was three to five hours. It clearly wasn’t enough and I had problems functioning at all. Emotionally it burned me up inside. There seemed to be no solution to it. Then I met Damiana Corca at a Meetup in Boulder, discovered she was not only an acupuncturist but one who specialized in sleep, and within just two or three weeks after going to her office for treatment, I was able to sleep six to seven hours a night. That was an absolute miracle for me! And I felt the differences in my daily life immediately as that kind of sleep became the norm for me over the next several weeks, then months. Damiana’s goal is for me to be able to sleep eight hours a night all the time.

In reaching for the goal of eight hours of sleep nightly, I discovered some things about myself, my new self as a person with a serious illness. I worried a lot – about nearly everything – and it woke me up at night and could keep me up for a few hours, too.

What is worry? Fretting over something and trying to control it (let’s say money is a good example of “it”) rather than choosing to have faith that it would work out one way or another. I could see (even though I didn’t want to) that I had little control over the outcome or the unfolding of events. I have had to learn to hold certain ideas and concepts in my head and heart and return to them over and over during the day. And especially at night when I am vulnerable to negativity and sadness returning to me.  

I have to let go of outcomes. I have to lose control and see how senseless it is to believe I can control everything, and I mean Every Thing.  I am learning to meditate, especially when I think I don’t have time for it. I am learning to go to bed with an emptied head.

Oh, I don’t succeed on all of those things all of the time. I can let go of outcomes, but there remains a stubborn shred of me that wants what I want. Deep down, I hold onto an incredibly strong belief that if I lose control the whole world will fall apart. Me. Holding the earth together. Right. As for meditation, thank goodness for Pema Chödrön and her instruction to just say “thinking” when thoughts intrude in my attempts to meditate.

I have been working part-time as a writing tutor again. Dressing up (sort of) and driving to work seems foreign to me after not having done that for more than three years. I’m also writing more as a freelancer. This is good. It’s all good. Because it says to me, “You are healthy enough and have enough energy to work more now.” And I feel a sense of accomplishment in being able to say, “I’ll be there, on time, and produce,” and then showing up. On time. And producing the work. I’m making progress, step by little step.

I recently had a brush with the medical world that brought nearly everything crashing down that I’d achieved over the past several months. But I believe that’s another blog post.