I believe I am supposed to have patience with my chronic illness, but lately my patience is wearing thin. I am overly tired. I am in pain from this last episode of arthritis that has hit my hands and has made typing and working quite painful. I am working really hard to do what my doctor has told me to do and that is to rest, get massages, go to my chiropractor for adjustments, go to occupational therapy to get help with making fingers less painful and more limber so I can use them to type. It only works for a short time.
I am also on a new drug, called Methotrexate, which is actually a chemotherapy drug. While this drug gives many people relief after a number of weeks from their symptoms, I have had a bad reaction to it. It has given me severe headaches, chills, fever and made me so tired I have been in bed for days after taking the drug.
At times like this I say the serenity prayer over and over again. If you don’t know it, it goes like this. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Sometimes I have to say this little prayer over and over again. I even have to take it apart.
So in case you are having some bad times like I am, let me tell you how I do this. The first line is “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” I cannot change the fact that I have a chronic illness that is not getting better. I cannot change the weather, or my reactions to the drugs I take. I cannot change other people and the way they act. This is a biggie for me. I often don’t like the way other people behave. Some of them are angry people who yell or have bad attitudes. I cannot change them or their behaviors.
What I can do is in the next sentence of the prayer. It is, “the courage to change the things I can.” If people around me behave badly, I can decide not to be around them. They are bad for me right now. Actually angry people are bad for me anytime, but for right now when my immune system is down and I need more rest, I need to take care of myself and that includes protecting myself from people who are not good for me. So I change my situation by not being around them. I change other things in my life that I have control over. I eat foods that are good for me such as fruits and veggies. I drink water. I get sleep. If I am tired I get rest. I do the things that I have control over and change them.
The last sentence of the prayer is, “and wisdom to know the difference.” Sometimes this is difficult for me. I have to think about it. Do I have control over what is causing me trouble? If it is another person, then the answer is no. I can’t change them. All I have any control over is how to protect myself at a time when I need to take care of myself and make sure that I have the stamina for the things that are important to me such as seeing my granddaughter Emma who will be 1 on October 23rd. Having my list of what really is important to me is great at a time when I need to prioritize.