When a disease moves in, the whole household is rearranged.
And a tough girl will fight it and push it and kick at it and work hard to keep it outside on the front porch where she can keep the door closed and hit the deadbolt when the intruder gets too unruly.
But diseases don’t have house manners, so Hashimoto’s has moved right in and brought her friend hypothyroidism with her, and they’ve taken up residence and settled into their own wing, and after almost a year of Delores the Thyroid paying her rent in mood swings and thinning hair, we might maybe just now be getting used to this new ugly roommate.
And do you know what happens when you have an unruly house guest who won’t go away and who doesn’t want to follow the rules?
You finally get tired of being polite and trying to figure out how to deal with their behaviors in a quiet and civilized manner, and you get assertive and you learn how to stick up for yourself and the people you live with and love with, and after enough time goes by and your guest is still being uncooperative, one day you take your life back and you tell her that you’re not going to put up with her shit any longer.
So all this summer I’ve worked hard at keeping Delores in her room until she learns to behave, and on those rare days she kicks down her door and comes to interrupt our days, I’ve learned that the best way to handle her is to sit around cozy and comfortable and curled up with my people while we laugh at her antics.
Ten months ago I could barely drag out of bed and couldn’t wait to get back to it at night.
Ten months ago I had so much anger in my heart I hardly knew myself.
Ten months ago my joints hurt so bad I could barely lift my arms or bend my fingers or my knees.
Ten months ago I had no joy, no care, no understanding of what was the matter with me or any idea of how long it had been going on.
My houseguest had crept in without me even knowing, and all I could do was just keep pushing, keep doing what needed to be done, and keep focusing only on the absolute essentials.
Today, I can focus on the good.
I can see the the beautiful.
I can find the peace.
Today, I still sometimes drag out of bed, but I can face the days. I am no longer slugging through, but actually beginning to EMBRACE the moments. I am starting to look forward to things again instead of just dreading.
Today, the anger is replaced by patience, and when irritation does rear its ugly head, it is short lived and doesn’t possess my whole being like it once did.
Today when my joints hurt I know it’s because it’s time for a med adjustment or because I’ve eaten something that does not agree with my disease. I don’t hurt all the time anymore.
I still have hurts.
But every day they are less, and I’ve hiked three whole times this summer and I’ve been able to ditch the 3 pm thyroid nap and I’ve listened to my body, and as I keep working toward kicking Delores out for good –or at least banishing her to the outhouse– I can see the beauty and the good and I can keep my focus on peace.
So today I hopped in a canoe and I paddled. And when the kids bickered from their own little boat I told them to quit ruining the moment and I picked a spot on the horizon that was beautiful and I hunkered down against the wind of the day and I prayed and I headed toward the peace…
and I was paddling.
When my muscles warmed I was so happy that I was able to use them without feeling stabbing pain.
And when the wind blew me sideways I was so thankful to have the strength and the focus to put my canoe right.
And when my calves wanted to cramp, I was so tickled to realize my awkward body was in a position I had yearned to try in yoga class not too long ago.
Today, I realized that I’ve gained some things since battling hypothyroidism, and not just extra weight.
I’ve gained confidence.
The ability to laugh at myself.
Patience for others.
I realized that life…our faith…is just like my canoe ride today.
Choppy. Awkward. Full of cramps.
But so beautiful.
Intertwined with the Creator.
So I kept paddling.
And every day as I battle this new season of life…or you fight struggles or job loss or pain or a nasty new roommate of your own…remember we have the power to not let it ruin our moment here…and we’ll pick a spot on the horizon that is beautiful, and we’ll hunker down against the wind of our day…
And we’ll keep paddling toward peace.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27