Friday, May 20, 2016


Balance is something we all strive for. 

Equilibrium. Unity. Harmony. Symmetry. 

Chronic illness is the opposite of those terms. It leaves us living life like on a teeter totter - bouncing up and down while "life" and illness fail at achieving balance. Each seek to gain the upper-hand. Unfortunately, "life" is frequently forced to compromise in these attempts, as illness impedes the balance we desperately desire. 

The lives of chronic illness sufferers are similar to any other person, aside from, you know, the whole sick thing. We have schooling and career aspirations. We enjoy socializing with friends and gathering with loved ones. We yearn for adventure. We want to participate in hobbies and fun activities. Some of us have dreams of a family, success, or just to live. Inevitably, illness interferes with it all. 

PainHospitalsMedicationFear. Hesitancy.

Chronic illness encompasses all of those terms. 

Lately, I find myself stuck. It is difficult not to become stuck in a place of fear and hesitancy with my health because of its vast significance. 
Occasional hesitancy is necessary, especially with Mast Cell Disease. Any chance taken can be life threatening. Simply cooking dinner or stepping a foot outside of the house is not so simple. Dangerous reaction possibilities are hidden amongst the shelves in the grocery store. Anaphylaxis sends a warm welcoming before you even get a chance to become acquainted with the aroma of your great aunt's perfume at family gatherings. Nothing is safe. And if it is, probably not for long. 

Obviously I am not literally "stuck" on the hypothetical child's playground equipment, but it shares common ground with my life. 

How does this have any correlation with a teeter-totter?

My wants, desires, hopes, and dreams meander down to the grassy ground while my illness rises upwards, gaining leverage. It has changed my hobbies. It has altered my career and schooling plans. It has even prevented spontaneous adventure. I cannot very well leave the house without remembering to pack daily medications, emergency medications, feeding tube supplies, or a wheelchair. What happens if I make myself sicker by overdoing it? 

I have question each aspect of life, leaving the decision to be made between the two answers: to live or to exist in fear. 

Chronic illness inevitably impacts decisions to live. And sometimes it seems as if deciding to live is completely impossible. However, not always, and there are accommodations to be made to allow it possible. Living in fear of the decision is detrimental. It is not living. We really do only live once.  While it is never okay to cause a major health crisis through impulsivity, taking fearless chances where possible (although difficult) is crucial to restoring equilibrium.

Yet, I remain on a quest for balance. But as for now, I may just settle for slightly hovering above the ground on the teeter-totter of life.