Had a little drama last night, as friends of friends are wont to do when they share too many co-mingled relationships.
In this case, it’s a friend of a friend going through a variety of cancer treatments and our other, mutual friend, being caught out calling K a “hypochondriac”. Such an ugly word, but such a legitimate choice, whether or not one agrees with the diagnosis of the medical experts.
What’s teally echoing, though, is my therapy session yesterday, and the discussion of why I was there. “Clarity” I said. Pretty much the same reason why I have this blog.
In talking about illness, there’s a certain school of thought that dictates one must “suck it up” because one isn’t visibly sick ‘enough’.
Comparisons are often made with war veterans with missing limbs, or people in wheelchairs, or others undergoing chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, etc., and who have it “much worse than you”. As if comparison to another person’s suffering will make you see the error of your ways in your thinking for how to deal with your own challenges, and make your situation go away. Just like magic.
If only it were that simple.
I, too, am from the ‘suck it up’ school of thought. I’ve fought my underlying condition my entire life by living in denial of what I could and couldn’t do. Of what did and didn’t count for living within doctor’s restrictions. It’s all about managing boundaries. Both those self-imposed, as well as imposed by others.
At the end of the day, though, there’s a merging of what the individual will or cannot tolerate, and getting to that point is a hard fought battle. We’re always re-evaluating our positions, weighing risk against reward, and trying to find the line for emotional and financial sustainability in order to ensure we have a workable plan for survival.
Yesterday’s session was important, because it showed that I like money.
Not a surprise, because money has motivated me since I was a small child as money = freedom. Independence. Peace of mind in the short term.
But, it was a surprise because it also showed that I worked my butt off to amass some breathing room with my disease, and that I know there won’t be a lot of it in my future. It also showed that I’m willing to gamble part of what I have in sustaining myself, in the hope that it will be replaced if I’m reading my employee benefits book correctly, and understand how this drama will play out over the next series of months. My short term priority is to endure while I fight my employer’s insurance company for my benefits, while also working my way toward the long term priority of reaching the Feds for establishing a plateau against which I can measure minimum income options and avoid homelessness.
My goal hasn’t changed since I first articulated this plan to myself in March or April of this year, and realized that I likely only have another 3-5 quality years of life. Get labeled. Lock in the minimum income. Then go find a supportive job with this new label in hand so that my financial security isn’t at risk as my health and abilities deterioriate.
This plan has caused a lot of challenging conversations with people in my life who are of the “suck it up” school of thought, challenging me on wasting “their” tax dollars, and completely ignoring the fact that those are my tax dollars, too. I’ve worked and paid taxes since I was 13 years old, so I have 42 years “invested” in “our” social security / tax system. And, I’ll be damned if I’m going to die homeless and penniless because I sucked it up and lived in denial, getting fired from my job because I couldn’t keep up the crazy pace.
So, no answers here. Just more of the same thought process to stay the course, see how the benefits get paid out (or not), and risk being terminated.
While I’m staying the course, I’m focusing on my own health and preserving my own energy to the best of my ability to conserve what strength I have.
It’s been a month, and I’m still reading very little as my eyes can’t seem to focus long enough or well enough to let me enjoy a good book. Luckily, though, I have audible.com and favorite author’s stories to re-hear and enjoy, so it’s not a completely frustrating lack of mental stimulation problem as I waste my limited eye energy filling out forms and compiling lists to get to where I need to be.
************** Credits **********************************************
The blog cover picture is from my happy place, Great East Lake, NH. It was posted by a neighbor as freeshare for all the neighbors and friends who also have a love of the lake and the people who visit during the year.