Category Archives: Common Variable Immunodeficiency

Perseverance

 

keep plowing ahead“No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.” -Greg Kincaid

 

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Winter Living with Chronic Illness

meme_image

Chronic illness quote: “If opening your eyes, or getting out of bed, or holding a spoon, or combing your hair is the daunting Mount Everest you climb today, that is okay.” – Carmen Ambrosio

I’m in bed fighting the flu with my impaired immune system, antibiotics, and rosehips tea with lemon. All my projects are on hold until I heal.

Being Victimized Does Not Doom You to Becoming an Abuser.

Choose not to abuse

I first began studying abuse in 1968 during my tenure at Juvenile Court in the Abuse and Neglect Unite. The idea of a cycle of child abuse was all the rage. I don’t remember what the theory was called then. But the theory was abused children grow up to be abusive parents. The same idea is expressed by the common statement: “Hurt people hurt people.” I don’t agree. And here is why.

Yesterday I was verbally abused and bullied. This woman wanted to force me to take an action I didn’t agree with. It went against my will and my better judgment. This happens all the time. People want what they want. Some have no scruples about how they get it.

When confronted, she used her history of abuse as her excuse. She threw her abuse feelings at me. She rapidly and loudly listed every single experience of abuse she may have ever experienced in her lifetime.

None of her history had anything to do with our conversation. She was trying to manipulate me. Without the words, her volume and tone said verbal abuse. She hit me over and over with her words. It really did feel like a beating.

I have mad coping skills, but limited physical energy. I live with a serious chronic illness. I must use good judgment and extreme pacing to function in the world. Her verbal abuse overloaded my medical conditions and landed me in bed all the rest of day.

I accept full responsibility for my well-being. Ending up in bed again all day is my clue to set better boundaries for myself. I have to be much more cautious about who I allow in my space. I’m on a learning curve with that. My desire for as much life as my health will allow me demands I learn to take better care of myself.

Today, when I politely severed contact with her, she blandly claimed she was triggered. No apology. No sense she had done anything wrong. She was sad that I would no longer be helping her.

Maybe she was triggered. Maybe not. Maybe she was just trying to get her way. Make me do what she wanted. I see that often.

Sometimes I saw it in my counseling practice. People who think having once been a victim gives them some special protected status. Somehow people believe they have a license to act however they please. Abuse does not give you a free pass on morality, ethics, and life’s consequences. It just doesn’t.

This is a real moral issue.

Categorically, it is wrong to throw your pain at other people. It was wrong for my abusers to do it. It was wrong for your abusers to do it to you. It’s wrong for me to do it to you. And it’s wrong for you to do this to others. You have the choice as to how you behave.

It is absolutely wrong to get your needs met using unwilling people.

It seems ironic that some seriously hurt people feel they have a right to harm others. That serious hurt people see other people around them as objects for their use. Other people are not tissue paper or furniture. They are not objects for and you don’t have a license to use them. It’s just as wrong for you as it was for the people who hurt you.

If I wanted them, I have a litany of excuses to behave badly, whine, complain, and stay stuck in my life. I could have been ugly to the woman yesterday. I could mistreat my husband when life is tough for me. I could treat my medical team to the frustration I often feel.

But, see, it’s wrong for me to take my painful experiences out on others. Even if they are inept, bad, wrong and mistaken.

My life is mine. And your life is yours.

How we live determines our life’s experiences. What we do creates the quality of our lives. Our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and attitudes create our inner environment. And, that inner environment decides the caliber of your life.

Most people think they are helpless. They believe that what happens to them determines how they live. That’s only partly true. What happens to us is only one small part. How we choose to cope with what happened is more important. That’s the largest part of what our lives will be like.

I could blame other people for my troubles and stay stuck in my life. I could live in a rage about my chronic illnesses caused by severe medical malpractice. I could live angry, unhappy, frustrated, lonely and friendless. I could wallow in what was done to me and remain a victim of life. I can choose that.

You can choose that. But it IS a choice. My choice. Your choice.

This is such a terrible mistake. I know. I remember my early efforts to grow and heal. I thought I’d suffered enough. That my early abusive nightmare of a life was a free pass to an untroubled life in my future. That other people should absolutely NOT bump into my sore places and trigger me.

You cannot control other people or life itself.

None of what I used to believe is true. I cannot control other people. You cannot control other people. It’s wrong to try. I cannot control cancer, tornadoes, doctors, criminals, or other ugly life experiences. I cannot control being triggered. I can only control how I choose to respond.

To spend your life trying to control the life experiences outside of you is like spitting in the wind. You end up all wet with your own efforts splashing back all over you.

This is a serious quality of your life issue. You can choose to spend your life tilting at windmills. Spinning in place trying to control others. You will suffer needlessly. Or you can work on healing.

You can heal if you choose to do the work.

You can take that energy and determination you were using to control others and work on healing yourself. You really are the only person who can help you. I know this as sure as I know my own name.

Abuse causes deep inner pain. It causes us to distort our lives from who we could be and what we could have done. I am the only one who can work on bringing me back to myself. You are the only one who can work on bringing you back to yourself.

And you cannot do this putting all your attention on other people. You certainly cannot grow by abusing others. You can only grow if you put that attention on yourself and work hard on your own healing. You cannot get there from here if you wallow in misery, blame others and throw your pain at them.

I think I’ll sum up what I’ve been trying to say. It’s wrong to harm others no matter your excuse. It’s self-destructive to cherish your pain. It harms you to concentrate on the wrong others do. And the path to personal healing from abuse is to look at yourself and try to grow. You can do this by choosing to participate in any growth process available to you.

This has been my attempt to make sense out of a series of experiences that troubled me and turn them into a positive helpful posting. I hope it does just that. Helping others is one of the ways I cope with my life. It means that hurts have been turned into something beneficial.

Your feedback is important! Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this writing.

Just scroll a little further down the page and use the “Leave a Reply” box to add your opinions. Make your suggestions and let me know what your needs are.

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email: agentledrlaura@mail.com                                         Telephone: (615) 464-3791

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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and Chronic Illness

aces and resiliencePart One

The first time I read about the ACES study (Adverse Childhood Events) by Kaiser Permanente in San Diego and the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), I became enraged.

It felt like they were talking about me. Or my psychological slip was showing. Vulnerable. No clothes on naked. Unmasked every time I needed medical care. With multiple rare chronic illnesses, I need care a lot.

I didn’t want to face this.

The ACES study connected childhoods spent in abusive and dysfunctional families to adult risky health behaviors, chronic illness, and early death. People are getting a lot of hope knowing that their illnesses are related to their earliest childhood experiences. It leads to solutions at any age. Solutions such as building your resilience. I’ll write about that in another post.

In this writing, I want to discuss their original underlying research assumptions. That ACEs lead to risky health behaviors. And risky health behaviors lead to poor health.

Sounds logical, right? Logical but not really very helpful.

My rage turned into denial. I pretended I didn’t read that, feel this, see whatever, or understand what I had read. I acted like the mythical three monkeys covering their eyes, ears, and mouths. I forgot all about it. With a pout face.

But the issue kept popping up in my mind. Nagging me to deal with it. I’m a specialist in recovery from childhood abuse. First my own, then the schooling, and finally other peoples.

Recently, I kept stumbling over rocks and boulders named ACES.

ACES include psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and intimate partner violence. Also included are the experiences of having people with the following problems live in your home: Substance abuse, mental illness, suicidal impulses, or being incarcerated.

I’ve written before about my childhood full of sexual abuse, bullying, poverty, my gentle father’s mental illness, and my mother’s dislike of me. The gaslighting, isolation, and rejection. What I’ve resisted, except for a few articles and some poetry, is writing about my health.

I’ve had two rare chronic illness since I was a child: Hyperinsulinism and Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID). I repeat these are rare diseases that require special knowledge to diagnose and treat. They were never diagnosed until I was an older adult.

I’ve always been sick a lot. This became another aspect of my abuse experience. My mother took minimal physical care of me, but took me to the doctor. She yelled viciously at me for needing her care. She accused me of being a hypochondriac, running away from life, and of wanting attention.

As a child, the medical profession became an extension of her abuse.

We were scary poor. My Dad was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. My mother, whatever her many and multiple faults, begged for whatever services I needed.

Just imagine the reactions of an overburdened physician who would not get paid. Presented with a child he couldn’t diagnose. Most doctors in this situation judge harshly and reject the patient (See Kaye & Groves, The hateful patient, 1979).

Kaiser & the CDC looked at adult risky health behaviors and disease. This is the blame game. Where care stops and judgment starts. It’s called ‘blame the victim’.

Most abused children believe they are at fault. Besides being told they are wrong, it’s easier to think everything is your fault than to understand you have no control over events. I know I did. Judge me. Judge myself harshly.

When I was studying the literature on childhood trauma for my graduate degrees, I saw that people cope with their horrific childhoods in the only ways available to them. They do what they know until they learn better.

Sexually abused children become hypersexual to master and gain control over their abuse. Other people sedate themselves with drugs, alcohol, food and cigarettes. And gambling, spending, stealing, all addictions.

Being trapped in a severely dysfunctional and abusive family leads to, guess what, feelings of being trapped. Depression and suicidal impulses are natural outgrowths of a reality that includes hopelessness.

Risky health behaviors were listed in the research as excessive drinking, depression, suicide attempts, unrestrained smoking, multiple sexual partners, STD’s, lack of exercise, and morbid obesity.

As an adult, far from my family of origin, I’ve worked diligently to not be who everyone told me I’d be. Not be a waste of space. Not the cause my own problems. And certainly NOT a victim. Not even a survivor. A THRIVER.

I’m a sober alcoholic, clean drug addict, abstinent food addict, and former smoker. I have personal boundaries, great friendships, and a loving husband. I eat organic food as available. And until my second cancer, I was a vegetarian.

I alternately use stress management, self-hypnosis, assertiveness, and healthy communication skills. I implement positive thinking and affirmations daily. I meditate, do deep breathing and whatever else will help me.

I’m still stuck with chronic illness.

It’s the underlying judgmental assumption that denies people the medical care they need and deserve. If medical people assume that patients are choosing to be unhealthy, they can easily write people off or give minimal care.

The ACES research found what behavioral researchers have been saying for decades. People from severely dysfunctional families lack healthy habits and indulge in destructive behaviors that impacted their health. The more exposure people had to adverse childhood events, the greater chance they had of developing risky health behaviors.

It’s a leap from blaming people for their problems to seeing their problems. But the research courageously made that leap. People with childhoods full of adverse events had serious health problems in adulthood. Problems such as heart and lung diseases, cancer and liver disease. The more adverse events people experienced, the greater their health risk.

There is much more research on this today. Studies on the physiological impacts of childhood trauma on the brain and the body. Some of it is beyond my psychologically trained mind. Other more accessible research is on resilience as a counter to adverse childhood events. And still more work is being done to change the institutional systems that interact with children and adult victims of abuse.

All of this made me angry. Very, very angry. More writing on these topics in the future.

Your feedback is important! Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this writing.

Just scroll a little further down the page and use the “Leave a Reply” box to add your opinions. Make your suggestions and let me know what your needs are.

If you wish to say more, e-mail me at agentledrlaura@mail.com or by using the contact me box below.

If you like my writing and are interested in applying some of these ideas, subscribe to my newsletter.

 

email: agentledrlaura@mail.com                                         Telephone: (615) 464-3791

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Resources

Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., … & Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. American journal of preventive medicine, 14(4), 245-258.

Kaye, B., & Groves, J. E. (1979). Taking care of the hateful patient. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 63(1), 149.

Stevens, J. E. (Ed.) nd. ACEs Too High (J. E. Stevens, Ed.). Retrieved June 5, 2017, from https://acestoohigh.com/

©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.                    Privacy Policy

 

The Day A Hero Became A Villain

water-drop-of-water-syringe-1636141

It was a a day that lets you breathe air fully
sun a blazing light
so bright you cannot look into it
sky a healing fantastical blue
suggesting boundless possibilities
gossamer clouds spelling peace
birds singing a song of spring
a day suggesting freedom and hope.

Today I ponder how I came to this place
where I was irrevocably harmed.
How an epic hero doctor on a beautiful day
wearing his white cape and a brilliant smile
worshiped by many
admired by most
used to giving comfort and thoughtful care
made a deliberate decision to betray himself
violate ethics and morality
and selfishly harm a patient.

I’ve howled my own pain to the sky
written volumes of rage
torn papers into shreds with my pen
while I examined my feelings
indignation
betrayal
rage
distress
woundedness
devastation
grief
sadness
resignation
acceptance.

Today, I’m writing his story.
It’s a cautionary tale
a warning for all of us
how a good man could go so wrong
and fall from grace.

There was a moment
a second
an infinitesimal instant.
He could have gone either way
hero or villain.

He chose villain
when he made a coward’s decision
to hide his mistake
instead of face it and
be the person he had been before.

It is true that I was irrevocably damaged
by his decision and cowardice.
It is equally true that he changed his
character in that second
and was himself irrevocably damaged
by his behavior.

No more hero
coward
wimp
weakling
chicken
yellow-belly
candy-ass
craven
cur
scaredy cat

I had lymphoma and finished 8 rounds of chemo.
Six months later, my CT Scan showed a new mass.
Ideally we would have run a PET Scan before I was hospitalized
but insurance was being difficult.
He ran the PET Scan the morning of my admission to the hospital.
The results of that testing told him not to give me chemotherapy
but treatment had already begun.
Those results that said I had no new cancer.
He could have stopped the treatment.
It had only been an hour or two of poison in my veins.

All else followed from that one cowardly decision.
He lost his ethics, morality, and integrity.
It’s a warning for all of us
how one bad decision leads to another and another
until finally you have lost your soul to evil.

Instead of being honest and facing a mistake
he waited a day and lied.
He told me the machine was broken
and had the test run again.
Another moment in time
another decision to be a hero or a villain
show courage or be a coward.

The results were the same
no cancer.
He chose to be a coward
protect himself
wait to find out what to do.
Truly I can only guess at his motivation
his thought process.
I imagine he panicked and envisioned his
life going down the drain.
Maybe the medical center lawyers were involved.
Who really knows what was going on in the privacy of his mind?
Whatever his reasoning
he did not tell me
he did not stop the chemotherapy at all.

Seven days of advanced chemotherapy
24 hours per day for seven days
168 hours of poison designed
for the purpose of flattening my immune system
and making way for a bone marrow transplant.

He telephoned me a month later after I lost my hair
and was completely chemo sick
to tell me in a quirky way that I was lucky.
“Good news,” he said
“You don’t have cancer again at all,”
ignoring the elephant he had placed between us.

He did say, “sorry” before he became brutal
blocking my disability
refusing to sign any papers
preventing me from obtaining any medical care
at all.

That’s the descent into villainhood.
From one decision to another and another
until he behaved as a monster.
Making me sick by accident
and keeping me sick on purpose.

And that’s the story, morning glory.
It was thirteen years ago and in a different state.
It took a long time to figure it all out.
I worked very diligently and
got out from under the thumb of a former hero.

A hero who made a mistake and then did a very bad thing.
He treated me as an object causing him a problem
instead of the living breathing human being he had harmed.
I found medical care after I moved away and
blocked anyone from obtaining my medical records.

This is a true story and it bears a repeated warning.
Cherish your honor and make it your own
because every decision you make leads to your next decision.
Every casual selfishness creates your future life
because whatever we do builds into our next action
and we too, each of us
can change from a hero to a villain.
It begins with a small decision and
the fall into becoming a despicable human being
spirals faster and faster
until you might not even know yourself anymore.

My emphasis is on walking your journey with you as you work toward realizing your dreams, hopes, wishes, and goals.

Your feedback is important! Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this writing.

Just scroll a little further down the page and use the “Leave a Reply” box to add your opinions. Make your suggestions and let me know what your needs are.

If you wish to say more, e-mail me at agentledrlaura@mail.com or by using the contact me box below.

If you like my writing and are interested in applying some of these ideas, subscribe to my newsletter.

email: agentledrlaura@mail.com                                         Telephone: (615) 464-3791

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Pearls in My Soul

 

256px-Laad_Bazaar_Pearls1

Photo attribution at bottom

A few moments ago I answered the phone. I was writing this posting on positive thought and stopped. Oh, yuk, that was unpleasant! Not what I wanted to hear. Not at all. My mood evaporated, and I brooded. A full on stomp my feet, yell and express my unhappiness tantrum. It’s tempting to roll around in negativity. It’s difficult to shift into an affirmative frame of mind.

I closed the program and shut my computer off. It took a few minutes for me to find my inspiration again. It was an uphill battle against falling mud thoughts decorated with negative rocks of ugly, painful feelings.

My experience today sheds real light on positive thinking.

Life spits on all of us to greater and lesser degrees. Things happen. Abuse, crime, poverty, discrimination, and much ugliness. People die, others get sick. Cancer. Oh, cancer sucks!

We don’t get the job we wanted or the partner we lusted after. We stub our toes, fall down and have automobile accidents. On and on, I could fill this page with the anguish inducing events in life.

I don’t want to live inside the painful events of my life. I’m kind of a big baby. I want pleasure in my life, not pain. And what I focus upon is what I experience. My most important environment is inside my heart and head. What I concentrate on is where I dwell. I can view pain or pleasure.

I cherish the spiritual power of positive thought. I’ve been working on this skill for the past 43 years. I believe our lives conform to what we hold in our minds. If we can change our insides at a deep enough level, we can also influence our outside experience. An ongoing dedication to this process makes a huge difference. I trust this.

I have confidence in the psychological power of positive thought. We can make or break our days in our thoughts. It’s an effort sometimes. Like today. I had to put some mental elbow grease into my mental processes. After that telephone call, I was tempted to watch television, read a book, or something mindless. After all, I deserve it! Because, because, well, just because. There is the pull of whining and “it’s so awful!”

I wanted to write about my experience of yesterday’s (8/21/17) total eclipse. I was joyful in my ability to sit and write in spite of chronic illness and my history of abuse. Yet, I almost let one telephone call derail me.

So, here, this is me. Deciding once again to take the positive path. Maybe even the “road less traveled” (Frost, Robert, The Road Not Taken, 1916).

I collect memories. I think of them as lustrous and finely colored pearls. My memories are gems of great value. Large pearls, small pearls, fresh water pearls, deep from the ocean pearls, black pearls, perfect ones and misshapen gems. Each memory added to a strand residing in the center of my being. I look at them often.

Memories of delight, pleasure, triumph, happiness, rebellion, and freedom. I pull them up and review them at will. Rejoicing in a long ago event. Pearl memories inside me that cheer me up, make me smile and enrich my life day-to-day. With friends. Laughter on the telephone with other friends. Intimate sharing conversations with people I like and love.

That sunny day I mastered the high diving board at the swimming pool. Climbing the ladder, walking to the final third of that board, striding the board and launching. Flying in the air for that few seconds before I hit the water.

My defiant friends in high school. Smoking on the corner, slouching with great attitude. Hours on the telephone. Walking and walking all over town, talking and thinking of mischief.

My first day at college, feeling free and grown up, walking across the campus of Kentucky blue grass. It’s not an authentic blue, but a beautiful blue-green in the summer.

The births of my sons, holding them in my arms first the first time. Different boys, different years, and different experiences, each one a memory pearl that adds to my inner necklace of warmth and happiness.

My small weddings, surrounded by loving people and simple dresses.

The day my husband, Keith, got on his knees to propose. We’d already agreed to marry and I still smile as I remember him asking again with the ring.

The day I walked across the stage for my Ph.D. diploma, hearing my son yell in the crowd, “There’s my mom!”

Or the one year we celebrated Christmas twice. So like children, we were, opening our presents too early until there were none. We decided to do it again.

The eclipse on August 21, 2017, is one of those pearls. We planned and prepared. I couldn’t explain the sense of need and urgency I had about this. I wanted, needed. I live with somewhat debilitating chronic illness, so we had to plan and prepare.

My sense of awe and raw pleasure sitting on our front porch, surrounded by an all around sunset. Then totality. The full eclipse. Our one country street light went on. The earth dimmed. The universe lowered the lights an increment at a time. I watched birds fly west in a group. A few birds flew back east as the lights came back a little at a time. Words fail me to describe this memory and the feelings it produced inside me.

A once in a lifetime experience. A pearl in my soul. A new memory on my smiling necklace of happiness.

Today is my 72nd birthday. I’m writing, cheered at the freedom to sit here and share my thoughts. Keith came home with smiling flowers. Sunflowers, red carnations and something yellow. Another smile, one more pearl.

Now I’m finishing my medical treatment. A once weekly infusion of immunoglobulin to build up my failing immune system. The disease is called Common Variable Immunodeficiency. The treatment is an elixir full of gems, energy, and bullets aimed at bacteria and other beasties. This, too, is a pearl.

I can sit in my chair, sometimes almost unable to move and pull out that necklace. My memory necklace is long. Pearls too long to lift if the necklace was manifest in this world. Inside me, it’s just the right size.

Contact me if you’d like to create your own set of inside pearls.

Email: agentledrlaura@mail.com

Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

*By Abhinaba Basu (Flickr: Laad Bazaar Pearls, Charminar) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The 21st Century Cures Act Hurts My Feelings

mary-pickford-1963155_640

The 21st Century Cures Act
hurts my feelings
touted as a good thing
turned into harm for Zebras like me.
I’m a zebra in a world of horses.
Will I tell my story?
Oh, no, what can I say?
I want to.
I don’t want to.
But I will.

Who will listen
anyway?
No one wants to know this.
I think.
It’s boring
doncha know?

Zebras have rare diseases.
Doctors say
If you hear hoof beats
think horses, not zebras.”
Rare diseases say
Think Zebra!
My rare disease
is Common Variable Immunodeficiency
leaving me vulnerable to infections
and sickness.
Subcutaneous Immunoglobulin
is my treatment.

The 21st Century Cures Act
hurts my feelings
touted as a good thing
turned into harm for Zebras like me.
The political system
IS brutal
and not made for
any special snowflake
or small population
like a rare disease.

A rare disease
a small population
has less political capital
less ability to advocate
just less.
Politics trades off
help some by inadvertently
harming others.
Zebras have less power
a smaller population
take the money from us
to benefit someone else
maybe we’ll just go away
or die quietly.

Anger
sarcasm
self pity
blame
blame who?
blame me
blame them
lawyers
politicians
policy people
unseen others
and their ilk.

<oh, sigh>
<oh, my>

The 21st Century Cures Act
hurts my feelings
touted as a good thing
turned into harm for Zebras like me.
Cuts the pay for my treatment
below the cost of the treatment
forcing pharmacies
into crisis
requiring big decisions:
hurt their bottom line
or refuse our medicines.

Having rare diseases
hurts my spirit.
It doesn’t feel special
or unique.
I’m a special snowflake
and I need proper care.
I’m a zebra in a world
of horses.

The 21st Century Cures Act
hurts my feelings
touted as a good thing
turned into harm for Zebras like me.
I don’t want to
ask for more
and different.
I don’t want to
say, “you just don’t understand.”
Hot burning shame
hiding my face
in embarrassment
telling people
I need this
Please help.

Being a special snowflake
is not my decision
not my want
not my desire
it just is.
Illness isn’t me
It is not who I am
except
illness defines my life
no matter what I do.

I lose myself
in the structure of days
spent taking care of this body
Eating on time
bathing on time
doing this rinse
and that rinse
doing this treatment
that treatment
figure out a schedule
that lets me go out of the house
and let me live a little
bit more richly today.

I’m a free spirit
trapped in routine
discipline
order
and self-care
all demanding
I be someone I’m not.

I want to tell my story
but I don’t want you to see my pain.
I want to tell my story
but I don’t want you to feel my sorrow.
I want to tell my story
but I don’t want you to know my anger.

Most of all I don’t want me to know.
Let me pretend
avoid
deny
and live in rainbows
unicorns
glitter
clouds
flowers
balloons
and
laughter.

I want to tell my story.
I know things
analyze and hypothesize
I have something to share.
I’ve been at this a long time
I have something to say
There is insight to provide
Insight that grew out
of years of suffering.

The 21st Century Cures Act
hurts my feelings
touted as a good thing
turned into harm for Zebras like me.
Will anyone listen?
Will anyone listen
in Washington?
Does anyone
really care?

A Water on Rock Approach to Life: A Poem

Water on RockDoctor’s visits can be cool
and calm
rinsing myself in thermal springs
of mineral waters cleansing
me of toxins and sickness.
Or they can become challenging experiences
plunging over dangerous waterfalls
into precarious rapids
finally dashing my being into rocks.

This one was a warm pool
of healing waters full of minerals.
I listened to my husband
talk about my water on rock
approach to life
as I climbed on a stair
first holding on to the examining table
then slowly turning around
finally pushing myself up
into a sitting position.
“That’s what no one
seems to know about her.
She’s like the water
that formed the Grand Canyon.
She never quits until she succeeds,”
he told my doctor.

Here I sit thinking about water
my approach to life
and my current path to personal growth.
Poisoned toxic water
had dripped into my being
carving a canyon deep sense of desolation
and hopelessness.
Sickness is merciless
simply demanding until you give in.
Slowly illness wrestled one life’s activity at a time
away from me.
I coped badly
mistakenly immersing myself
into frothy nasty words
“It’s not important”
I told myself
each and every time
I gave up something else.

Today, I must rinse those thoughts
the toxic words out of my being.
Some days I imagine I AM water
flowing out into pools
streams
rivers
oceans
merging into all the waters of the world
liquefying sickness
diluting negativity
just washing it all way
in the biggest most powerful
pools of water.
Instead I’m left with small water drops
hollowing out the negativity
and replacing the poisons with love.

And so I do.
Water is everywhere in my day
cleansing
sanitizing
fulfilling
nurturing.
I go through the day
performing those tasks
that are healing me
adding loving words to myself,
saying instead, “I am important”
as I wash my hands making sure
I don’t give myself an infection.
Drip, Drop, “I have value”
putting the needles into my belly
for my treatment.
Burble, bubble, “You are loved,”
as I do my daily exercise.
plip – plip – ploop – plip – plip – plip – plip – ploop
“I deserve to be taken care of”
as I eat my mandated food on time
every two hours
and drink my eight glasses of water.

That, friends, is my water on rock
approach to life’s problems.
Each little task
no matter how small
builds upon the next task
until I can move mountains
carve out the Grand Canyon
or even find my way back
to health
or at least a richer life
filled with the joys
of the day.

If you would like to talk with someone about your chronic illness or explore your own version of a water on rock approach to your life problems, contact me to make an appointment.

email: agentledrlaura@mail.com                                         Telephone: (615) 464-3791

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Picture is an NPS Postcard of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone by Frank J Haynes; words added by me.