Transition – Living with chronic illness
Life is a series of changes – transition. Some are unexpected, and other you know will happen. I now have to finish the work that I do because I cannot walk fast enough. This is how I am adapting to this transition.
Life is a series of transition when we change from one way of living to another. It could be getting a new job, falling in love, or moving to another house. There is always a point when things change. Usually, they come with some emotion. It could be the loss of a loved one or the thrill of starting a new project.
Monday was one of my “Transition Days”. As followers of my blog know I have done door to door surveys on a part-time basis. As I have chronic headaches that have a pain level of 5/10 I find concentrating on anything difficult. So, as a form of work, it suits me. Every survey takes about 15-20 minutes and then I have to find my next interviewees. This gives my head a break before the next survey.
Over the last year, my walking has become steadily worse and worse. My right leg is heavy. It takes a big effort to lift my leg, and my foot drops occasionally, which could cause me to trip. Hence, I use a stick to walk. As people with Multiple Sclerosis know, temperature changes can have an impact on the severity of your symptoms. This Winter has seen my walking become worse, and on Monday my walking, or more correctly my inability to walk, reached a threshold.
Small slopes became mountains, a 100 metres became a marathon. The prospect of walking anymore became just too much. A decision had to be made, and as I was hobbling along it became brutally clear.
I had to stop doing this work.
This job is no longer suitable for me.
How did this make me feel?
Traumatic is one feeling. A loss is another. I had found a job that I could do within my constraints, and now my chronic illness was robbing me of the ability to do this type of work. Honestly, I had expected this to happen, maybe not this quickly, but happen none the less. So that knot in my stomach that was part of the expectation of this life-changing (another one) event, vanished. I had taken the leap. So, after this feeling of loss, I now have a feeling of wonder. What will the future bring?
In my life, I have experienced that change can bring a new way of living. I have prepared for this. It will have a couple of impacts. One, I will have a smaller income, at least initially. For the next month, or two, I will have to survive on a half to a third of the income I had. Serious belt-tightening will have to happen. Second, I will have to find more suitable work that is flexible (I can set my own hours) and does not need full-time. Really I can only work about 12 hours a week. Otherwise, my head will explode. Third, I will have more free time. This will be used to work on my blog. Maybe learn a bit more about how to make it more friendly, and add more content. Fourth, I will need to find some way of exercising that does not involve my legs. Fortunately, we have a pool nearby, so I’ll be back swimming again.
As you can see, I have thought ahead. This online community that I am a part of has helped. I am a member of one Facebook Group, MS Pals, and the Admin in the group let me know about a few online jobs. So now I will be transcribing as an added income. My typing is painfully slow (my finger sensation is poor and they don’t always go where I want) but with practice, I hope to get better. This will bring in some extra income. Last week I earned US$ 0.74 (!!!), not much, but a start. This week will be better.
Do I know the future? No, I certainly don’t. But I am sure that there will be opportunities that will be put in front of me, and I will create others. This is my life, and despite continuing pain, loss of mobility, sensation, and now, lost work, I refuse to let Chronic Headaches and Multiple Sclerosis rob me of life. The pace is slower, and my options are limited by my health, but I will find something!