Making Tough Decisions as Pulmonary Fibrosis Progresses
I’ve been making decisions about how to spend my limited time and energy wisely. I was hoping to bounce back after I experienced a decrease in lung function about two months ago. But a trip to my doctor caused me to face the fact that this is my new normal.
I have mixed feelings about adjusting to the new normal. On the one hand, facing up to it helps me assess what is real, and what I need to do to make wise decisions. On the other hand, I struggle with this process because of the grief I go through, which I wrote about recently in “The Healing Cycles of Grief.”
As I face my new normal, it is evident I can no longer do all the writing and online projects I love to do
Here is some of what I am juggling right now:
- Writing two blogs.
- Writing a book for terminally ill patients and their families about being caring and compassionate with themselves on this journey.
- Recording another CD of compassionate statements we should offer ourselves as we struggle with the challenges of life.
- Compiling notes from a lot of workshops I’ve given in the past 25 years to pass onto others.
- Spending time with family and friends.
- Making some end-of-life decisions while I’m thinking clearly and able to.
- Doing Facebook Live videos.
- And tons more on my list . . . .
Guess what? I can’t do all this, even though I want to
Here’s the thing: I no longer have the energy or stamina to do all I’d like. I tried to figure out which activities to keep and which ones to let go, but got confused weighing all the factors.
This may sound nerdy, but I needed to come up with a way to organize my thoughts and priorities. I created a chart so I could put everything in one place. On the top row, I listed each activity to consider, and created rows listing reasons to continue.
I gave points to each one (1 = not very important to 10 = very important). I then created a separate row to assess how much time and energy each item would cost me if I continued, and gave each a negative number.
I added all the + numbers, and subtracted the amount of time and energy each would take from me. Each category ended up with a final number. This chart helped me assess which activities to keep and which to let go.
Here is a sample chart, using this blog as one of the items to consider. I’m happy to say that continuing to write the blog is a priority. You can download a copy of the chart if you’d like.
I hope this is helpful. It is hard to face some of the decisions we need to make as our disease worsens.
For me it is important to think about the things I still want to do to have a positive impact on my world, as well as to have meaningful times with family and friends. It is also important to address end-of-life issues, taking care of details that need to be handled.
How about you? Do you have a way to assess how to spend the time you have left on what is really important to you? I’d love to hear your ideas and your process. And please share with others who might benefit by email or social media.
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.