Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for the ‘Cancer’ tag

Chronic Illness Recovery-One Step At a Time

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Today I emptied the dishwasher and I filled it all at once. First time, in ten years that I did not take a 20 minute rest between the two tasks. It is now one task again. This is not to say that when the humidity is high or my back screams to me that I need to sit down, put up my feet and read a book I will not listen. I will and once gain feel like the slow tortoise I have become.

Still, I think I took a good step forward-no longer facing the task with dread, but with the knowledge I can do it.

Ten years ago, I had a massive heart attack and three strokes. I had no use of my left side. I could not walk. I could not feed myself. I could not negotiate going to the bathroom by myself. Before that point, my husband and daughters were told I had a negative 17% chance of living. I had been unconscious. I had not responded to light or to many other triggers used in assessment..

I don’t tell this for sympathy, empathy or anything else but simply to tell you that I understand the struggle people have when recovering from heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Yes, cancer. During all of this, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Luckily, it was a very early detection so that learning to walk could come first. Then, I could wait the 90 days needed to recover from the heart attack and participate in cardio rehabilitation so that I would be stronger when the surgery happened.

All of this background leads me to today when I accomplished something that many of us take to be a given- unloading and loading the dishwasher.  It does us good to remember to be grateful and thankful for what we have every day of our lives because in a wink of an eye all that can change.

My point is not to be depressing but to let everyone know that should a chronic illness come your way it is not necessary to stop living or stop working toward goals. When you look back to yesterday, and believe me, look back one day.  Do not look to what “used to be”.

Your normal is a “new” normal and yours alone because each person’s backpack of a chronic illness is unique to themselves. For some people, recovery comes quickly up to a point and then, it seems to plateau. For others, the path is filled with rocks and tree roots and the time it takes is much longer.

I tell people that heart disease is customized and each person’s list of symptoms is unique. It is the same with strokes. I regained my ability to walk. I eat with my left hand once again. I type using every finger on my right hand and my pointer finger on my left.

Today, I used those six fingers to share that I can now do one more thing that has eluded me for ten years. I know it probably doesn’t seem like much, but in my world, it proves that I can still achieve more.     

Written by Gloria Ferris

June 9th, 2018 at 4:33 pm