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Dec. 21.

Life Beyond Normal

ChristmasBells

My Status: Headache ascendant
Mood: Philosophical

I love the holiday season and all of the festive atmosphere, the twinkling lights, the songs, decorating, and most importantly cherishing time spent with family and friends—there is a magic for all to experience. I have even been known to thrive on the hustle and bustle of this time of year. Normally. But sometimes life throws a curve and you end up living it beyond normal.

Beyond normal can include things that are fabulous or things that are not so great. It is an extreme, and when it happens things are different—you have to learn to adjust or it can be a bumpy ride, whether on the up or down swing. Beyond normal is where I’m living right now, and it can be difficult to keep your footing out here. Things I wouldn’t have even thought about doing twice last year can wipe me out this year … and do.

This week has been a particularly tough one, with the allergic reaction on Tuesday during chemo and the aftermath as well as the length of time the chemo took because of the reaction. It has depleted the few resources I had built up, and left a dishrag doll in its place. This season that I love is passing me by, and I’m missing most of it. I want to embrace it, but cannot lift my arms high enough to do so. Normally, I’m a fighter, and would push myself, but here in beyond normal I simply can’t. So I’ll just have to make up for it next year. 😉

Beyond normal impacts everything in your life. Even the simple day-to-day tasks, or maybe most especially the day-to-day tasks. This morning, I had a plan for things I wanted to accomplish. A small list, one which had been modified (or so I thought) to the beyond normal standards. First off, it took me about an hour to convince myself to move. I’ve had a nasty headache since Thursday night, so that was something additional to battle. Nausea was trying to take hold this morning, so it had to be kicked down. And standing made me a little light-headed.

I persevered. I took the tasks slowly, one at a time, and kept moving forward—with breaks along the way. At one point, I passed the mirror and noticed my face was flushed. Which for me is actually fairly normal, although, usually there is more reason for it than what I had been doing. A little while later I passed the same mirror and one look told me I was done for the day. Instead of being flushed, I had paled a shade or three … in other words, it could have been Caspar staring back at me from the mirror, which is not a good sign. And I was shaking. Time to stop or pass out.

On top of the rest of it, because of the leukemia, throughout the day I will periodically sweat profusely, with no effort expended whatsoever. Such a pleasant thing. HA. I didn’t get everything I wanted to accomplished, but in beyond normal, I’ll accept what was done and won’t worry about what wasn’t—because I can’t. I’m doing the best I can, and my focus MUST be on getting well. And part of getting well is knowing when to stop (and no, I don’t yet have it mastered). All the focus must be on positive and not the negative.

In thinking about living life beyond normal, I know I am not the only one out here on the fringe this year (or any year). So when you see someone who is having to count to 3 before taking the next step, give them an extra smile to encourage them along their way, or a helping hand. It’s not easy out here, and we all end up here at one point or another.

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