“Some Days are Diamonds and Some Days are Stones” is a line from an old John Denver song. I think it describes perfectly how it is to live with a chronic illness. Some days are so good, they sparkle like diamonds, and then some days are so bad, they leave you feeling like you’ve got a huge stone where your heart used to be. My mission right now is to hang on to those “diamond” days, and keep hoping for more.
It is hard to hang on sometimes though, when it all feels so overwhelming: simple household tasks, wondering if the doctors believe you, waiting on your disability decision, the crippling fatigue, the pain, and many other things, but most of all it is the grief I feel for the person I used to be. When I look in the mirror a stranger’s face looks back at me.
That stranger doesn’t have much hair left, she’s emaciated with purplish black raccoon marks around her eyes, the wrinkles that used to be laugh lines are deep furrows plowed into the skin from grimacing when there is no relief from the pain. The stranger’s eyes are almost hidden because they’re swollen from crying due to the depression associated with Rheumatoid disease and Fibromyalgia. Wait; I still recognize those eyes.
The irises are forest green with brown edges, and the pupils still have what artists refer to as a “life light”. That light still burns with a lust for life that comes from having a courageous spirit. I’ve always been a strong spirited woman, and I can’t afford to loose my courage now, even though the past couple of days have left me reeling a little. Flares (The times when the monster in my body tries to take control.) often do that to me; however, so far I’ve survived them and eventually the flares do come to an end. I am lucky today because the pain is better.
My reflection in the mirror smiles. The woman in the mirror isn’t really a stranger, a little worse for wear and tear as the old saying goes, but it is still me. My physical body will never be the same, still l have my courage, as well as my inner strength. Grieving for my old physical self is pointless because it only holds me back from the joys of the present.
The sun is shining outside my window and the snow is melting. If I look really hard I can see little bits of springtime green. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and I don’t have time to worry about that because right now, all I have is today. Today can still be one of those “diamond” days, if I don’t let my heart turn into a stone.