Growing up I often sang a song at church in the children's Sunday school about pioneer children and their experiences crossing the vast expanse of the American West. The chorus of the song declares that they "sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked and walked." A lot of walking. This song has been on repeat in my mind recently.
I've felt over the past weeks and months as though I, too, am making a seemingly endless trek. Each day requires effort and perseverance. The progress is slow and painstaking, often so slow that it isn't even noticeable. So, on occasion, I force myself to stop walking and look back, measure the progress I've made, the hills I've conquered, the valleys I've climbed out of.
- After plenty of doctor's visits, adjustments to treatments (both medicinal and otherwise), the various symptoms of this disease, joint pain being but one, are showing noticeable improvement. We have found the approach that is working for me. Adjustments will have to be continually made over the years ahead, but we're making tremendous strides.
- I no longer need my pain medication on a daily basis. I can type for a full fifteen minutes at a time before my fingers give out, whereas I couldn't manage to type at all only a few weeks ago. I walk with less of a limp. I don't drop things as often. Though things aren't perfect they're so much better.
- My body, taxed as it is, continues to hold its own. I am recovering nicely from a recent bout with pneumonia. Some complicating health issues that I deal with are holding steady, a blessing for which I am daily grateful.
- I am still writing, though much slower than before. I don't know what my publishing future will look like (what writer does, really?), but I am enjoying being able to write again regardless.
- I've been healthy enough to give back to friends who have supported me through my struggles. I am part of the Altered Perceptions anthology to benefit the amazing Robison Wells and to help his family through some very difficult times. There is something very healing in being able to serve others when you, yourself, have needed the help of so many.
The journey is long and isn't at all over. With a chronic illness the journey is never over. But I've come pretty far. And through these struggles I've found that gratitude and perspective is what gives us the strength to sing as we walk and walk and walk and walk.