My one-of-a-kind body

by Elouise

Dear Friends,

This past week was a blur. Not a horrible blur, but the kind that softens my outlook and strains my capacity to take things in. I knew it was coming, yet living through it physically and emotionally was more exhausting than I anticipated.

It’s all about my dear, one-of-a-kind body. The one I’m learning to treat tenderly–with special care, huge respect and growing gratitude. It’s easy for me to fall into a sense of despair when things don’t improve as quickly as I’d like.

And yet…the outcome of this week’s saga is positive. I now have four more lab tests to get through—three involve separate blood draws. The other is a 24-hour collection I won’t describe because you really don’t want to know.

I met my kidney doctor on Wednesday, and relaxed immediately. She had a welcoming, patient-centered approach and treated me as the adult woman I am. I was surprised to hear she wasn’t sure what’s going on in my body. The numbers are clear on my lab results for the last ten years.

At the same time, having seen me, she doesn’t consider me an ‘average’ 73-year-old woman. For example, I’m still physically active and don’t look that old. Hence the standard measurements don’t necessarily apply. So she wants to find out whether I’m at an earlier stage of kidney disease, or whether something else might be going on. I left with orders for further testing.

My exhaustion continues, as do other issues that have plagued me for the past year. Which brings me to yesterday’s appointment with my integrative doctor. She’s also totally patient-oriented, and is treating me for adrenal disorder (sometimes related to kidney problems).

Last December she told me it might take 2 full years to recover my energy. Along with more supplements and directions about diet, she gave me a list of changes to make in my lifestyle. I had to start putting myself first, cutting way back on things I didn’t need to do, meditating regularly, enjoying the outdoors, and I think you get the picture.

In short, I had to begin loving my body more than I loved pleasing or even being with other people. I had to treat my weary body as tenderly as I might treat a newborn baby. It’s no exaggeration to say I was a rank beginner at this, even though I thought I’d been treating myself well.

After reviewing how things were going in all parts of my health care, she wrote orders for follow-up blood work, gave me a big thumbs up, and sent me home to carry on!

The way ahead still feels heavy. My attitude, however, has changed. Each evening I make a short journal entry about how I’m feeling. Now, instead of dwelling on the challenges or discouragements of each day, I recall things that brought me joy and delight.

I’ve also decided I might like to live to be 100 after all! Not because I think the world is getting better each day, but because I’m finding ways to celebrate little things instead of focusing on stress-points in my life or in this world God loves so much.

With hope and gratitude,

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 June 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Tender