Monday, September 26, 2016

From Jogging to Chronic Illness Blogging

At one time, my goal was to become strong.

Many of days revolved around workouts at the local gym between planned trips to Whole Foods. There was nothing comparable to the satisfaction achieved from increasing the amount of weight lifted, or the joy of watching the number on the scale increase with muscle mass. After all, I knew what it was like to be the frail, sickly girl. She was a thing of the past with my substantial health improvements. 

When that notion of strength popped into my head two years prior, there is no doubt that attaining physical strength was the desired outcome. I had imagined that in time, my body would not be bounded by limitations. It would conform to the ideals of health. I enjoyed the transformation and the possibility for others to come.  

Transform, it did. With a waxing and waning genetic condition, the results were unsustained. And just like that I weigh nearly the exact weight I had been lifting at the gym. The infusion pharmacy replaced the health food stores I frequented. The so-called strength I thought I had developed was fleeting. 

I have since laid to rest the idea of strength that dominated my aspirations so long ago. Surrendering vitality, barbells, and health foods for painful symptoms and hospital beds has not been easy. It is not like I had a choice in the matter. Regardless, it was done. 

Although not fulfilled to my initial intent, I believe I have accomplished my goal. 

My definition of strength changed along with my body. The word acquired a new meaning, one that ventures outside the realm of being purely physical. This experience with disease progression has tested the limits of both my mind and body. I have realized that accepting my body at its weakest, in both its capabilities and physical appearance, is part of the process. 

The journey towards strength is quite a hike. I am physically strong no longer and a gym is definitely not in my foreseeable future. But while moving from the bed to the couch is an arduous trek, my mind is strong enough to climb mountains. 

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10