A while ago I was feeling tired and found myself debating whether I wanted to put out the energy to get together with some friends. Going out and lugging my oxygen around is a lot of effort, and it wears me out. It hit me that this was the best I was going to feel, and I didn’t want to miss out on the experiences I could enjoy now.
I wanted to remind us that despite the hardships of our diagnosis, we still have NOW to live our lives.
Last year I gave a workshop about having compassion for yourself during tough times. I shared about my health struggles these last 3 ½ years – first being diagnosed with breast cancer and then pulmonary fibrosis. As I was talking I spontaneously blurted out, “Don’t let what has happened, is happening, or your fear of what will happen, take away your NOW.”
I still have NOW, no matter what the future holds, and so do you!
As I write this blog, I am in southern California for my father-in-law’s memorial service. It is hard for me to travel, but I didn’t want to miss honoring him and also getting together with our extended family. I am cherishing each moment and interaction because I have NOW and want to make the most of it.
Don’t let your diagnosis take away your NOW or who you are. You are still you, I am still me – even with my new limitations, oxygen use and tiredness.
I like to think about myself and my life this way…
- Despite my limitations, there is still so much I can do.
- My lungs are disabled, but I’m not.
- I have NOW to live the life I have, and want to make each moment as meaningful as possible.
- As difficult as it is to have a terminal illness, there is an unexpected blessing in choosing wisely how to spend my time and energy.
- I have pulmonary fibrosis, but that is not my identity. I am Kim, loved by God, who holds me firmly in His hand. I am still me. I have to work with and around pulmonary fibrosis, but that is not my identity. I’m still me – and I still have NOW.
As a marriage and family therapist of 30 years I’ve noticed that those who ascribe their identity to what has happened to them rarely work through hardships and find peace. They stay stuck, and sink deeper into what has happened to them, losing their NOW and their future.
I’m in a continual process of grieving and adjusting to my new normal because of pulmonary fibrosis. I try to stay balanced as I embrace and grieve my reality, while enjoying all I have NOW.
I encourage you to join me in taking care of ourselves, being compassionate with ourselves and grabbing hold to the life we have to live NOW.
Comments, please! — I’d love to hear how you embrace the life you have to live NOW. Please share on social media and with anyone you feel could benefit.
Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.