Q: What do you do for a living?
A: I’m a professional patient.
Truly. That’s why I do with a lot of my days. I go to the doctor.
Q: Do you like what you do for a living?
A: No, I don’t like going to the doctor.
Actually, it wouldn’t so bad if they always had good news. But being the Wonder that I am, God’s own creation, my appointments don’t always bring good news. Not all of them bring super bad news either, I’m very lucky. But they do bring a lot of uncertainty. It’s draining.
The worst part about going to the doctor is usually less about the actual substance of the appointment and more about the slightly varied, but inevitable question of:
Q: “What do you do?” “Do you still practice?” “What law firm are/were you at?”
A: Jackie’s eyes well up. She says, “No- ” but her voice trails off as she tries to say, “The AE took that from me.”
That actually happened to me just this morning. It hit a little harder than usual. Probably because I was already in the doctor’s office to learn whether any parts of my hips or knees have died from steroids (not being facetious here). And I’ve had some rough appointments as of late (like Rheumatology as those appointments seem like exercises in the 50-ways I could easily die or become disfigured from autoimmune conditions likely lurking in my body and that whole joints dying thing).
It's annoying AND exhausting. Somedays I just want to be done doctoring. Forever.
But only three days ago, my bestie, Ashley, and I were on the phone and she flat out asked me, “Would you go back to your life before AE, Celiac disease, anxiety, the life you have now?” I did not hesitate. Easy answer: “No.” Said matter of factly.
At my first Rheumatology appointment months ago, it came up, “Do you practice anymore?” My eyes welled up, my voice trailed off, and I managed to say, “No, this is what I do now, I go to the doctor.” And we ended there. Until he reminded me that I said I had written a book and did a podcast, which he thought was quite noble.
It is, right? What I do after what I’ve been through is a huge source of pride for me. I rebuilt from ruins. And I’m just starting to have some fun.
I should be able to say, “I used to practice law. Heavy on the ‘used to.’ But you know what, I’m better for it now, and I really like my life. I like writing, I love reading, I learn all the time. I’m always doing something. And sometimes that something is sleeping. I have a new book in the works, and I can’t wait to promote my memoir. I have so many ideas for the future: shirts and books and other books and speeches. I have new friends around the globe and hold the world by the tail. I don’t miss being a lawyer, because usually when my colleagues and friends call me, they’re miserable in their jobs and very stressed out, just like I used to be. I would never go back.”
But what I’ve lost and what I’ve endured in the process, remains heartbreaking to me. Because there’s still that part of me that wishes with every ounce of my being that I could go back.
Just like how Ashley asked me, “Would you go back?” every time someone else asks me, “Do you miss it?” I never hesitate. “Yes, yes I do. So much.”
It probably doesn’t make sense. But it’s where I’m at.
Dammit. It hurts. Even today, as I sit here (on my hips that are sore and my knees that sustained damage).
Guess I gotta hold on. I know the day will come. I’m just not there yet. But I want to be.
Future me: Q: “Do you practice anymore?”
A: “Nope.” (Smile.) Next question, please.
If you lead a life with chronic illness. If you are struggling with grief. If you are reading this for any reason under the sun. I get you, I hear you, I know you. The waters can be rough. #JustKeepSwimming there are #BetterDaysAhead. I’m always working on mine.
"Some day somebody's gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye
Until then, baby, are you going to let 'em hold you down and make you cry?
Don't you know? Don't you know, things can change
Things'll go your way
If you Hold On for one more day
"Can you Hold On for one more day?
Things'll go your way
Hold On for one more day" ~ Hold On by Wilson Phillips
Photo Cred: (A while back, I called for new photos for my blogs, and boy did y'all deliver! This photo comes from a complete stranger, Dillon, in Colorado. He saw my request and sent me some great shots. His photo captured the mood of when I penned this article. I use a lot of metaphors in my speaking and writing, and losing my career was a lot like going down the side of a cliff (or a free fall from 30,000 ft). But if you look closely at this pic, you can tell that the fog and clouds will lift, and you'll feel sunshine as you start to climb again.
Thanks Dillon! Find him on Insta @Dillon.m.t
If you enjoyed this blog - - CLICK HERE - - to read Hold On II