I am sick. Really sick. So sick that lying in bed is a challenge because my muscles ache. My throat feels like it was scraped with steel wool. My head hurts like it was hit with a sledge hammer. I’ve spent seventeen of the last twenty four hours sleeping. I’ve been weepy and my ability to cope seems to have vanished. I do not have any more in me. Not today. Not yesterday. Or the day before that.
At the same time that I’ve been so sick we learned that our sweet dog Zoey has bladder cancer. It’s not operable and we’re waiting for test results to figure out treatment to keep her comfortable. Zoey is a significant member of our family. She helped Ian get well and fit as a result their endless walks together. She was instrumental in bringing Ian and I back together after our divorce. She taught me what unconditional love feels like.
And so I weep, my eyes and nose already weepy from whatever illness has taken hold of me. My head already hurting.
I’m one of those people who ‘never gets sick’. Yet over the last six months I’ve had one health challenge after another. First a torn retina, then pneumonia and then a patch of skin cancer to be removed. I’ve barely been able to run or be active in any way during this time, first because of my eye and then because of my lungs. Only recently in warmer weather have I been able to experience a joy filled run, my heart and my lungs free and clear.
The combination of the last six months and now getting sick again combined with Zoey’s illness has depleted my spirit. Hearing myself say, “I don’t have any More-In-Me.” was a shock. I’m the eternal optimist always looking on the bright side to at least find a lesson in lousy situations. Not this time. All the should’s and ought to’s have lost the battle in my head and my heart.
Beyond the surprise of saying “I don’t have any more-in-me” emerged a release. A relief. A letting go of expectations. I have a tendency – perhaps you do too – to feel like I have to stay on top of everything all the time. Sick or well. Sad or happy. Keep moving. Keep going. As an endurance athlete, I believe I can handle anything. I can literally keep moving. The pain will subside. The finish line will appear. The last six months have taught me that I’m not always in control as much as I like to think I am. The pain can be too much. Sometimes I have to give in to the moment. Not give up. But be with what is.
My big plans for this year will have to wait. Because today I am sick and I am sad and I don’t have any more-in-me. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Maybe it won’t. In the meantime I’ll be with what is and let Zoey’s endless good nature nurture my more-in-me for another day.
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