“All the World’s a Stage”… but give the mask a break

mask clip art

Today was hard.

And by hard I mean I was in unrelenting and horrific pain, especially by dinnertime. It was so bad in fact, that when we ran a few errands at the shopping mall after dinner, I was hobbling back to my car, and big, fat, round tears began to roll silently down my cheeks. My daughter didn’t even notice until we were half way home, but hiding that kind of stuff has become a sort of art form for me.

When we finally got home, I went to my room and let out a few sobs before laying down on the couch with an ice pack in an attempt to find some relief.

(So far, it hasn’t really helped.)

Every once in a while, I get like this. The pain reaches a point that I simply can’t cope with by distraction, and in nursing school, there is plenty of stuff I can distract myself with. It’s by the grace of God that I’m managing to keep my grades up, because since the beginning I’ve been fighting tension headaches, and my typical aches, pains and various other symptoms have been on the increase. I gotta say, the timing is bad.

I’m seeing another LLMD for a second opinion in November. Out of courtesy and respect, I let my current LLMD know about the appointment. From what I understand, they have worked together before, and their relationship isn’t adversarial. I just think we could benefit from a second pair of eyes looking at all the lab work, and the course of treatment and ebb and flow of symptoms based on those treatments. Maybe this new doc can find something we overlooked. I’ve stagnated in my improvement, at best. At worst, I’ve lost some of my previous headway.
The despair of this disease doesn’t hit me often. I don’t allow it to.

Sure I’ll admit to having a bad day when I’m having a bad day, but rarely do I sink to the emotional depths that I sunk to tonight. For one, I know everyone is fighting their own battles. I’ve become acutely aware of that in recent years, and even more so in nursing school. Many of my classmates are carrying their own crosses, and they tough it out, putting on a brave face, and eager for the day when they graduate and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

So I feel guilty sometimes about complaining. When I do, I never fail to get support, however. Friends offer hugs and prayers, sometimes virtual, and sometimes on the phone or in person. And a piece of me feels horrible about getting that kind of attention. I try to remind myself that if it was someone I knew, I would be doing the same thing, and offering the same support, so why feel bad that sometimes I need it, too?

I’m still not sure. It may be my genetics, or my upbringing, first born child syndrome or the mom in me. I don’t know. But I always feel more comfortable on the “giving” side of care more than I am on the “receiving” end of it. So, who knows? Perhaps this illness is part of a larger lesson for me. No man is an island, and all that.

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what the point of this whole blog entry was, initially. But maybe I found it? Maybe it’s a reminder to me and so many others that it’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to admit you’ve had enough. It’s ok to “take the brave face off.” Because tomorrow is another day, and like my bestie said, I can always see how the mask fits tomorrow.


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