Posted in Chronic illnesses, Fibromyaloga, Life in general, Motherhood, rheumatoid arthritis, Tough Choices

I Strive for Normal

A few evenings ago, I stood in my kitchen making dinner when a rush of nausea and dizziness hit me.  I leaned on the counter for support.  I had stood too long and my body was rebelling. I left the hot kitchen and headed to my leaving room to sit down while the episode passed.  By the time I had sat down, I was sweating profusely.  I asked my 13 year old to grab an icepack from the freezer. I placed the icepack on my forehead and rested for a bit.

I finished making dinner and the rest of my evening was shot because I was too tired to do anything.  I even left the kitchen a mess until the following morning.  I was even too tired to ask my 13 year old to load the dishwasher.

Being in the kitchen and preparing meals used to be one of my favorite things. These days, my kids are lucky if they get one home cooked meal per week.  Usually, dinner consists of whatever is fast on most nights.  When I am able to prepare a home cooked meal that requires effort, I feel like I bring some normalcy back in our home. Or when I am able to keep up with the housework and laundry, it seems like my kids can have a normal mother.  Normal is what I strive for but it is not easy and it doesn’t always work in the way that I want it to.

Despite my RA and fibro being somewhat controlled, I have learned that normal is the exception to the rule.  When I try to make my life feel normal, I end up paying for it.  I am a busy working mother and I am raising two very active boys and sometimes, I can barely keep up with everything life throws at me.  Something as simple as preparing a meal should not be so hard but when you live with chronic illness, it is big feat.   It is as close to normal as I can get.

When a person is healthy, their life and identity is built around what they are able to do and how their body helps them do it.  When you are sick, you start to doubt yourself.  You want some control of your life and you keep striving to reestablish normalcy. After all, chronic illness changes what normal is and most of us don’t like the type of normal or the lack of normal it brings.

I am still striving for normal even through normal can be hard.  Normal is just the little things like preparing a meal that involves standing for long period without having to rest in the middle of it or after it.  Normal means that I can clean my home without having to rest every half hour.  Normal means that after doing laundry I can actually fold it and put it away.  Normal means that I can spend the day at a park or beach with my kids without the heat or cold getting to me.  Normal means that a long drive isn’t tiring.  Normal means that my kids get to feel what it is like to have a mother who can do so much more than I can do.  Normal means that I feel like I can do the things that others can do including creating a work-life balance despite living with chronic illness.

I strive for normal everyday and some days, it can be pretty hard. Other days, I get pretty close. And once in a while, I have a rare day where normal doesn’t wear me out and it allows me to feel like any other member of the human race. Normal isn’t my reality but I keep striving for days where it can be.


6 thoughts on “I Strive for Normal

  1. Thanks for this post! I find that I forget constantly that I am not “normal”, even after 7 years of chronic pain. Just yesterday I was doing some yard work, something I haven’t tried in a while. I was working away when I suddenly realized that my body was not going to do much more. I guess it is all about planning for the best, and then going with the flow when it doesn’t quite work out.

  2. Aaahh, your normal sounds so much like mine. Those good days are sweet aren’t they? I love the days when the energy levels are high and motivation is strong. Feeling wiped out and useless totally bites–especially when our little guys (that are getting so big) are watching how we participate in life. Love ya, girl! Here’s hoping and praying your normal is a great normal today.

  3. I cook as a hobby so end up cooking a full meal every night. Been there done that over and over with the dizzies and it will happen again. I also do carpentry, still do the riding mower to cut the 1/3 acre of grass that came with this house, and all of these activities make me hurt like hell!, but I continue to do them. The point Im making here is that 6 months ago I could no longer do any of these things with any type of capacity, so Im taking full advantage of what I can do in the present, because I know it will come back at some time and will again render me almost useless. A good normal for me now when it does come is about 40% of what I used to be. I must also mention that I have constant vertigo and loud chronic tinnitus to boot. Have had that issue for about 16 years now and caused by the RA. Its a constant battle to keep my mind in the right place, because lets face it, no matter how many valiant battles we try to fight, we know we will never win the war. We know we cant make long term plans with this disease because of its unpredictability, so for me at least I try to make plans for the next day, because any planning further down the line might not be possible. You hang in there,l


    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. It makes a difference I continue to work forward with RA and fibro. We just have to keep going.

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