In 2018, as the New Year approached, I decided to dare to dream and wrote a blog post, Let’s Go Fly A Kite.
The idea was to list a few things I would love to do but felt were way out of reach or were just pure imagination.
I also had a small realistic list.
What I didn’t realise at the time, was one of the dreams on my “dare to dream” list, was soon to become a reality
New Beginnings Take Time
It’s been over 7 years since I medically retired and it has taken time for me to reinvent myself, so to speak.
I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do in my medical retirement. When I first left work I had Rheumatoid Arthritis and a permanent colostomy but I had no idea I was about to experience the full force of a rare bone disease. This onslaught came 10 months after I retired.
My original plans of a quiet medical retirement, with outings on good days, perhaps a bit of local travel within Australia and some daily exercise with walks around the beautiful Bayside suburb we lived in, all came crashing down the day my femur broke in two.
Of course we had just bought a 2 storey home at the time. Not ideal when the diagnosis of a progressive rare bone disease is passed down.
Two years of surgery after surgery and countless hospital stays, didn’t really provide me with the time or energy to think about what I could do with my life, particularly given my physical disabilities had become non treatable, permanent, progressive and incredibly restrictive.
2017 was a good year. Not because my health improved, it didnt. In fact it got worse. My disease was and still is really out of control. My Specialists made a decision late 2016 to avoid further surgery, unless a life threatening emergency, to give my body a rest. Thankfully this stopped the onslaught of being in constant recovery mode for 2 years at least. The surgery roller-coaster unfortunately became necessary again in 2018.
The Gift Of Time
For two years I was given the gift of time. Less appointments, no hospital stays, no lengthy surgical recoveries.
2014 to 2016 is a complete blur. I can’t remember much about those two years at all. In stark contrast, 2017/2018 gave me time to think with a clearer head. No constant effects of general anesthetic fogging my brain. What a relief!
After making a brave decision, just before Christmas 2019, my husband and I sold our 2 storey home and moved into a Lifestyle village.
Two years ago today we became the proud owners of our new, very “bijou”, lowset, brand new home, and it’s just perfect for our needs. The move took it’s toll physically but every step of the journey from old house to new home, just felt so right.
In the light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are so grateful we made the move just before it hit and we are now comfortably settled and safe, riding out the crisis.
As an added bonus, it’s just on the outskirts of suburbia, in a rural residential area and on the edge of Queenslands beautiful scenic rim.
Remember my “let’s go fly a kite post”? I dared to dream and the dream has been fulfilled. I have, by all intents and purposes, escaped to the country. I’m still pinching myself.
The countryside awaits everytime we leave our beautifully appointed Lifestyle village. Just driving in the car, to our local shopping centre, brings me such joy. My poor husband has to put up with me in the passenger seat, pointing out the horses and sheep and beautiful tree lined country lanes.
But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. Deuteronomy 11:11 NIV
The End Can Be The Start Of A New Beginning
Yes I still have severe pain, constant fractures throughout my body, extreme exhaustion, increasing mobility issues and a host of health surprises on a weekly basis. Despite it all, I’m so glad we didn’t let all the reasons “not to”, deter us from moving to our new home.
I don’t know why but I feel a sense of freedom here. Everything is more accessible and with the use of my walker and power scooter, I’ve been able to go out for fresh air with my husband for strolls around our village. Such a gift. I must admit I’ve overdone it a bit on some days and need to get the balance right but I’ll work it out.
I feel like I’ve been given a new beginning, despite my progressive disease and two years post our move, I have no regrets.
Over the past few years to just go about my days at my own pace has been such a blessing. I’ve enjoyed sunrises, sunsets and all the hours in between.
Since leaving work, I’ve been able to reinvent myself. I’m too young to do nothing. My brain runs at a million miles an hour. It needs to be active. I need a sense of purpose, to feel like I’m still contributing to society in some way.
I’ve never been someone who was content to focus on leisure activities. Even as a child I was always working on a project of some kind. At school I would finish assignments early and be given extras to do for the fun of it.
I know this sounds kind of sad, but believe it or not I wasn’t a nerd and was apparently part of the “cool” group at high school, or so we thought!
I’ve always had a strong sense of commitment and responsibility to make a difference in some way, and it wasn’t about to be squashed by chronic disease. It’s just who I am, how I’m wired I guess.
Dreams Become Realities
My dream of writing began to take shape as my blog became more established. Writing opportunities presented and I became an ongoing contributor at The Mighty.
I joined the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network and have been inspired by other bloggers all writing to educate readers about specific diseases, and share ways to live the best life possible with their health issues.
My greatest love though and the busiest, is Medical Musings With Friends, my online support forum for people with chronic and complex diseases. I love it. I love the members. Their stories are so precious, their support of each other so genuine.
Keeping this forum positive and relevant is my major daily focus. It is such a blessing and honour to be able to serve it’s members each and every day.
The Coronavirus crisis has created an additional challenge in ensuring the Forum remains relevant for our members. A challenge I’m very happy to take on, in order to continue to provide a supportive, genuine caring environment for the Group.
As well as the forum members this wonderful opportunity has also brought with it my team of moderators. This team are such an amazing support to me and, both current and past moderators, have all become great online friends.
Don’t Lose Hope
I had no idea 6 years ago what I was going to do with my life. It’s so easy to think chronic and complex disease is the end of life.
It may be the end of life as you know it now but it can be the start of a whole new fulfilling life. The reinvention process takes time, even years but don’t lose hope.
Keep dreaming and thinking about what you can physically and mentally cope with and eventually you too will reinvent yourself.
The end can be the start of a new beginning!
Who knows, you may even have your very own “Escape to the Country”, or whatever might be on your wild imagination list.
For today, I’m sitting back, counting my blessings and celebrating our 2nd anniversary in our new home.
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women