It is has been over a month since I have added to this blog. I haven't really felt like writing much. Some days its because I feel so happy and alive and I am busy doing other things that make me feel sane and whole. Other days it is just too much effort to make it down the stairs to my computer.
In the past month and a half I have had a spinal tap, had a blood patch to repair the spinal tap, my oldest daughter went off to her first year of college (without me), set up my classroom, my other two kids have started their junior year and freshman year of high school, learned that the spinal tap does not show any evidence of MS, started teaching my new first grade class, starting seeing a therapist to talk about my chronic illness(es), live with an ileostomy, got an appointment to see a neuromuscular neurologist at Columbia, acquired some sort of infection in my leg, had the support of wonderful friends and family, and for the past two days have been so anxious I have been unable to work. What the F#@k!
My friend Lisa started calling me Wonder Woman when I was home on disability, waiting to have my colectomy. It stuck. I embraced it. I felt it. Especially right after the surgery. I felt like there was really nothing I couldn't do. Don't get me wrong, there were some trying and dark days, but I knew that I would work my way through them and be like Wonder Woman once again.
Then I went back to school. I love teaching, I am teaching from my wheelchair and I have made accommodations for myself in my classroom in order to teach well. My desks are spread out a little more, we removed extra tables from my classroom, and most of the things I need access to are now at wheelchair height, not standing height. I use the handicapped accessible bathroom across the hall, and I am learning to accept help from my colleagues. My students are helping me, and I will teach them to be more independent. My friends are hanging things on my walls, and picking up my kids from specials; pushing me up the ramps and picking me up in the morning as I come in; checking in on me and giving me bathroom breaks; sharing lesson plans and so much more. And then all of a sudden, after a few days I felt like I couldn't get out of bed and drive to work myself. So Adam started taking me. And then yesterday, when I got there I just couldn't do it. I don't really know what it is. Because as soon as I start teaching I know I would forget about any anxious feeling I had. Six year olds tend to make you forget. But I could not make myself go into the classroom. And today the anxiety I felt from 5:30am on made my physically ill.
So now I am not feeling so Wonder Woman-like, but rather left wondering. What is it that is preventing me from moving forward? Why am I stuck? Is it that I thought I could do it all and I am realizing now that I can't? I think this is part of it. Even though I am unwilling to admit it, I thought I could jump back in to this career and calling that I love and be the same type of teacher I was before. But I can't. I can't do the same energizers with my kids as I used to because I can't walk and jump around. I have trouble modelling certain procedures because if I get out of my chair I will fall. It takes me much longer to complete a simple task like taking supplies out of my cabinet or writing Morning Message, because my body doesn't work the way it used to. My handwriting is different.
Okay. I have said it. Out loud in a way. I AM NOT THE SAME. I AM NOT THE SAME. I AM NOT THE SAME. I am not the same. Maybe I will be that person again. But right now, in this moment, I am not. This makes me sad and frustrated and leaves me feeling hopeless. There, I have said it. I feel hopeless. (And there I go crying again. My goodness! I never thought I could cry THIS much! Crying is cathartic, right?)
So I have to figure out how to be the teacher I want to be like this, in this body that I have right now, in this moment of my life. How can I be the best today, in this moment, in this hour, for this lesson, for this day, for this week, for this month, for this school year? How do I get back to the place where I feel comfortable going back and asking for help and stop being so pigheadedly independent? How do I do it? HOW DO I DO IT? How do I accept who I am now? I am wondering...
P.S. After writing all this down (which by the way has taken me over two hours to do), I realize that tomorrow I will be okay. Weird that I know that already, but today I have said some things out loud to the universe that I have been afraid to say. But now that I have said them, it isn't so scary anymore.