The original title of my blog was, “WhatTheJules, What a Life, WTF?” I think the title says it all. As I return to a more regular maintaining of my blog, I have a feeling this theme may return. You are about to see why.
The image above is the first photo I took at my Orange County apartment. It is the first place I lived alone in my 45 years of life. And so we begin.
May 17th was the month-a-versary of my bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy hysterectomy. AKA: complete hysterectomy. The post about that experience is forthcoming. This post is about what is Chronically Awesome, and what is just plain WTF.
There are many that confuse the definition of being Chronically Awesome with going beyond your limits. Some believe that being Chronically Awesome means pushing yourself to the pain point to prove a point.
Neither of these things is true.
Being Chronically Awesome simply means that we do not accept the limiting definition of chronic illness. We do not accept that being chronically ill means we are stuck. We can do so many things no matter what the limits of our body are. Often, the Chronically Awesome are creative. Bloggers, crafters, artists, novelists, painters: the Chronically Awesome gather together through social media to exchange ideas and expand our world.
So, what did I do that changed what could have been a chronically awesome moment into a WTF moment? And, what did it have to do with my hysterectomy? As you can imagine, I pushed it. I did that thing I just promised you that Chronically Awesome was not, I tried to play superwoman.
This superwoman/man syndrome is always a risk for anyone who is chronically ill that does not want to seem or feel “less than”. It is a risk to any of us who feels guilt or shame when something big comes up, and we feel we need to contribute. And that is what happened.
The weird thing is: my superwoman moment came BEFORE my hysterectomy.
My hysterectomy, scheduled for April 17th, was just a smidge too close to the date my apartment lease was to expire: May 7th. I did not think so. Convinced that I had this all figured out, I may have bit off more than I could chew. I thought I was going to fit most of my packing in before my surgery. When I got out of the hospital, I planned some brief recovery in the bedroom at my new place. (On a bed that had to be removed before I moved in). I figured I needed a week, and then back to my apartment for some last minute loose ends. The movers would arrive on May 1st.
The meltdown happened on April 13th.
I had packed quite a bit. I had cleaned out a considerable amount of my closet knowing that I was moving from a master bedroom with a walk-in closet to a “second” bedroom with a standard closet. I had begun taking clothes over and half-filled that closet. My books were packed. Then I hit a wall. I didn’t know what to do next.
It really was a meltdown.
I think that it had become well established that I was done. I know this because the morning of April 14th I got a phone call. “The movers will arrive tomorrow between 9:00 am and 10:00 am to move you to the house. They will move whatever you have packed. We will get the rest after your surgery.”
Was this good or bad? I went into crazy packing mode. I got the rest of the apartment packed, except for the kitchen. I loaded my car and took one massive run to the house, unloaded those things I did not want anyone else touching, went back to the apartment and loaded the car again.
Sore and tired, I went to bed.
I slept like shit.
The next morning I got up early and took the loaded car back over to the house where I again unloaded the car, drove back to the apartment, loaded the car again, and waited. Feeling familiar? Didn’t I do this load and turn things nine months ago? (Shakes head very hard, shake that memory right the hell out of your head.)
The movers arrived and for the first few hours I was stellar. I sat. I did nothing. I watched as my belongings found their way into the truck. These guys were great.
When we made it to the house, I lost my self-control. How was I going to fit all of my possessions into a tiny bedroom, a little bathroom, and an area I have now lovingly labeled my “library”? My furniture hardly fit into my bedroom. My living room almost perfectly recreated in the “library”. All of that was the problem of the movers. My problem? Here we go.
For the next two days, I began tearing through boxes. I wanted to make my space into my home before I left for the hospital. I knew that if I got home from the hospital and could see a box from my bed that I would get out of bed and unpack it. That is just the kind of thing I would do. So, I just kept going and going. I was the energizer bunny of unpacking. I would put something away only to find a better place for it later and move and replace it with something else. I did this for a day and a half.
Is this really what you are supposed to do the two days leading up to major surgery? WTF was I thinking?
In retrospect, WTF was my option?
Remember what I said about not wanting to see boxes while I was recovering? Similarly, I would not be able to live in my apartment amongst all of the boxes. I had a friend that was over frequently. He asked me several times if I wanted help packing. I said “no” over and over again. Not only is it hard for me to ask for help (another blog topic for another time), but I would not have been able to live amongst the boxes for very long.
So, on April 17th I arrived at Saddleback Memorial Hospital. I was nervous, I was exhausted, I had a Coach overnight bag with me. It was the last thing I had to pack. Normally when they give me the sedative prior to surgery, I remember that silly time before they knock me out. This time I almost fell asleep sometime between when they blew my vein on the first IV attempt and the successful second IV attempt.
What is Chronically Awesome? It’s not doing more than you should, more than you can, more than is safe. Being Chronically Awesome is being safe. That is why I sent someone over to the apartment a week later to pack up the kitchen, clean up, lock up, and walk away.
When I know myself, I will know my Awesome vs. my WTF. Every time I think I know where I am at, the finishline moves. Apparently, I still have a few things to learn, I am young, I have time.
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