Image: Some Days The Dragon Wins, Jody Bergsma.

I’ve had this print or years and totally love it. I can’t remember where I got it. I was probably lured in by the purples used, and the fact that there is a cute dragon. It most likely came into my life when I was starting the phase of loving all things dragons and unicorns and elves and other fantasy related images. I’ve hung on to it for several reason, not the least of which is a reminder that, indeed, the dragon will occasionally win.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Living life with a chronic illness is… interesting. There’s lots of different ways to describe it – the best is The Spoon Theory from Christine Miserandino, aka The Spoonie Momma – and there’s a lot of ways a chronic illness will manifest in a person’s life, and most of those ways are unseen. In my life, my illness(es) is the Dragon. It’s something that I live in blissful ignorance of, pretending it doesn’t exist. I mean, I take my thyroid medication every day (and panic when there’s a change or a shortage and I may run out), but I pretend that everything is fine. I’m fine.

I make sure that I follow a way of eating that supports my body. I keep to a schedule that makes sure I don’t over do it, and that I get enough rest. Essentially: I try to control all the factors to keep pretending the dragon doesn’t exist.

Except it does.

Living that life can be boring and isolating. Living that life means I get up, go to work, come home, do a few things, go to bed and repeat. Living that life means the hubby and I can get very stir crazy at times. So we change things up and go and do and see and push the envelope.

We did that this weekend – we did more around the house than usual because it was necessary, then we went out and had a lovely day perusing a holiday market. And I ended up on the couch at 3 am, in near tears because my low back decided to flare up, triggering some wicked sciatica pain that made it so I could barely stand. Then other parts of my body decided to join the party. I couldn’t think straight because of the pain, and lack of sleep. I could barely talk straight because my brain couldn’t find the words. Essentially, I was a mess.

The Dragon won the day.

The most frustrating part of things like this is that there’s stuff to do. I had plans, I was supposed to go to work and then had tasks to do at home. I feel like I’m letting people down, and most of all I let myself down. I beat myself up for “letting this happen”, or berate myself for breaking my routine. The truth is, this may have happened regardless if we went out, or did things in the yard or around the house.

Lest you think this is all “poor me”, there is an upside to this.

I have routines in place, and schedules that I follow. Those things mean that the house was in decent-ish shape before the Dragon took me down. Those things also mean that I was able to partially keep up with the routines when I had a moment of energy. It meant I could dump dinner in the Instant Pot and go sit back down for the next 2 hours without having to worry about opting for take out, which would probably set my body back another couple of days. 

It doesn’t mean I ‘m a failure, or that everything is completely derailed. It would be so easy to go down that road and use one interruption to let everything slide for months. But there’s no need for that. Yes, many things were put on hold for the day, but we’ll get back to them. Same for the days that the hubby is flattened by his Dragon. Either things get put on hold for another day, or one of us picks up the slack. We choose grace over grumbling. Ok, there’s usually some grumbling, but we try to cover it with a bit of grace. hee hee.

It also has reaffirmed that the routines that I’m working to keep in place are more important. It reminds me to do things when I can, so I don’t have to worry about it when I can’t. It also reminds me that I’m on a long and windy road to “being better” that will take me places I can only imagine.

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