Sometimes something happens that causes you to question your life, and how you live it. This last week, with almost unbearable pain and the potential of a diagnosis looming over me that could subject me to such pain frequently or constantly, I have been afraid. Afraid for my current lifestyle, afraid for my ambitions, afraid for my relationships.
In particular, I was worried because I couldn’t sit at my computer. But much of my life is based around my computer. I volunteer via my computer. That’s a big part of my week. My working life, both self-employment and company directorship, are managed via the computer. I was able to complete only five hours of work this week, because unusually I had a consulting job based on assessment of documents sent to me hard-copy, and a teleconference. That is unusual. Usually, 90% of my work is via the computer.
My creative life also is via the computer. I write online, get my feedback online, get my motivation online. How can this continue if I can’t sit at my computer? Even my other creative life – putting together my own photobooks or making cards out of my photographs – is on hold until/if I can begin working at the computer again. I used to paint. I enjoy it, and have been meaning to get back into it, but I’m not very good at it. It can’t replace my computer.
Eating anything hot or anything that required chewing brought it on. And I love cooking … and eating food that can’t be consumed through a straw. I couldn’t drink coffee. What do I do when I meet people. Drink water? I guess so. I couldn’t drink wine either. Horrors! More water I suppose. Lime and soda’s not so bad.
Sitting for long periods, or even short periods, brought on the pain. Watching TV or DVDs was out of the question. Sitting reading was impossible. I even had to finish my sudoku puzzle walking around. So for the first time in a long time, the ironing is almost finished. I have even started cleaning my office. But what would I do when the house was clean? How could I live without reading?
The combination of eating and sitting difficulties meant for the first time in 26 years, we didn’t go out for our anniversary. We toasted with fruit juice. Perhaps we’ll have to get used to this.
Then, blessed relief, the pain stopped. It still flickers, reminding me it could return. And I realise how incredibly lucky I have been so far in my life. The diagnosis wasn’t what I wanted, but some hope was offered. We don’t know when, or – and this is the good news – if the pain will return. If it doesn’t, of course, something else might arrive in its place. We’re getting to that age when things like this happen. So perhaps this is simply timely reminded that I should be living my life the way I really want to, right now, before I can’t.