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Keep Trying

I’m celebrating using the last class on my 20-class yoga pass. It only took 10 months to go to 20 classes! Each card is good for a year and the last one expired before I got to use all the classes on it.

I mention yoga so much that it probably seems like I go to classes all the time.  I have all five classes I like most on my calendar and try to go to almost every one. About an hour before class starts, I begin assessing whether or not I’ll be able to make it through the class. The answer is far more often “no” than “yes.” It’s frustrating and sometimes infuriating to not be able to make yet another class, but I love it so much that I keep trying.

Hmm, that pretty much sums up my approach to chronic illness. Can’t do the things I want to do? Keep trying and every once in a while I’ll get to. Had another treatment fail? Keep trying and maybe I’ll find one that helps. Feel like there’s nothing good in a life with chronic illness? Keep trying to appreciate even the smallest things and I’ll notice some of the goodness that surrounds me.

I know few things for certain, but am positive that I feel better than I have in ages because I kept trying when all I wanted to do was quit. I threw myself pity parties (sometimes for months) and took treatment breaks; I yelled a lot about how much it sucks to have chronic illness. But time after time, I picked myself up and tried again.

Giving up is a great way to stay exactly where you are — or to get even sicker. That wasn’t an acceptable choice for me, so I kept trying. It often felt like I was going nowhere, like my symptoms would never improve, that all the work was for nothing. But when my options were keep trying, stay stuck, or feel even worse, there was only one way I was willing to go.

My diet has the same frustrations as chronic illness on a smaller scale. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s terrible. Most of the time, it’s something I really don’t like, but accept that I have to live with it for now. While a diet of 40 foods is wonderful compared to a year or two ago, it’s not enough. I won’t stay here forever. I see no way out of the current restrictions, but there has to be something. Despite not knowing how I can possibly expand my diet (preferably by reducing my reactivity to foods), I keep trying. I can’t not.

8 Responses to Keep Trying

  1. Tracy says:

    The “keep trying” power of the human spirit continually amazes me. I’m so glad you are feeling better! If I make it to 4 more hot yoga classes before April, I will have completed my first 10-class pass in years. The owner has been really nice and allowed me to carry over my uncompleted classes to the next year if I buy another pass. Yin yoga is a class I can do when I’m not up for vinyasa style, but that is at another studio.

  2. Toni says:

    Thank-you again for your ability to put into words clearly the experience of chronic illness. It helps to validate and encourage me to “keep trying”. I purchased theraspecs on the advice of my neurologist and they make a big difference so thank-you for that as well. May you one day be able to eat 41 foods:) Peace. Toni

  3. Timothy Bauer says:

    Kerrie:

    Thanks again for what you do.

  4. Hope says:

    Thanks for posting this. You have no idea how much I needed to read it! It has been rough, preventatives are failing, abortives are useless, pain has been constant, frustration has been high, I have been in bed more than out of it, and I have been having a serious pity party for weeks. Your words just helped me realize how negative I have been and how much of a defeatist attitude I have had lately. Time to end the pity party and keep trying. Like you said, there is no other option if I want to get better. Thanks Kerrie.

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