If you find it difficult to prioritize responsibilities and activities while juggling the effects of life with chronic pain and illness, you’re not alone. I do, too, and sometimes I feel akin to a circus act – wondering if I’ll drop anything of importance while managing so many moving parts, especially when it comes to keeping my medical team up-to-date.
Lists help us prioritize, as does consulting with our doctors and loved ones about their perspective on what we need to do when. But I’ve found that taking a realistic look at time is, for me, the key.
I once had to rehab from a neck injury. The physical therapist was terrific, but each visit, she gave me more and more exercises. I finally counted up the time spent on each required exercise and it came to more than two hours – and I was supposed to do the reps each day! When I showed her the tally of time and explained that I was getting more tired rather than rejuvenated, she understood completely and modified the exercise routines accordingly.
If, like me, your health condition brings on significant fatigue, it’s especially to be conscious of time commitments. If I have a particularly gruelling day of medical appointments or tests, I know that I’ll have to be still for a good while afterward – sometimes several days – to recover adequately. It can be frustrating, I know; we’ve all had enjoyable opportunities pop up unexpectedly in the midst of a very exausting period. But instead of letting frustration take hold, I try to pray through it, believing that good friends will understand and God will bring joyous occasions no matter where I am or what I have to do.
The past several weeks, for me, have been one infection after another, culminating with a very bad bug that kept me in for two full weeks. My energy reserves are still low, and more than ever before, I am finding I have to set priorities and dig in to keep them, guarding my need for long stretches of rest and quiet. But in that rest and quiet, even then, I know there is comfort, peace, and, yes, joy.
No matter where we are, or how softly we have to walk through our days, God walks with us!