Health is something we all cherish but tend to take for granted from time to time. We may get an occasional cold or that seasonal flu that puts us out of commission for a couple of days and when we start to feel well again we are relieved and glad it’s passed. We go on with our daily life and don’t really think anything more about it other than were glad to feel well again.
But, then there are those of us who once had a healthy life and are thrown into the abyss of the unknown. Our world changes from going to work or school every day to countless doctors’ appointments, scary procedures and a world that’s unfamiliar and not promised. Our whole world changes as we suddenly or slowly lose our health. Whether it’s our physical health, mental health or social well-being, all become intertwined as our health declines. At times it becomes so muddled that we can’t distinguish if we are in the midst of a flare or if anxiety is rearing its ugly head again.
We long for our life to go back to the way it had been before our illness. Sometimes the illness does go into remission or stay stable and then we can live a fairly healthy life. We find ourselves holding onto and cherishing those times just as we did before we lost our health.
Loss of health can rob a person of their self-worth, their identity, and sometimes can cost them their family or very dear friends. Some lose their independence and are unable to hold a job or are forced into early retirement, most suffer some kind of financial burden due to the cost of medications and health care. Many suffer from social isolation which in turn can lead to depression. It becomes a vicious circle as they fight to find a balance and regain some control over the life they once had. As with any loss they go through the stages of grief starting with shock and disbelief, anger and fear. For many it is a long hard road but in time we hope that they will find their way, ultimately reach the final stage of peace and acceptance.
Having been forced into early retirement due to psoriatic arthritis I have struggled with trying to find that balance and regain control of my life! I have tried to stay busy and come up with ways to reach out and help others. As a nurse, I find helping others to be cathartic and soothing to my soul. This year I was asked to share my story of loss of health and my struggle as I grieved having to leave a profession I dearly loved. Writing became an avenue for me, not only to vent my frustrations but it has become very therapeutic emotionally.
I was thrilled when I was asked to contribute to the Grief Diaries series of books, specifically sharing my story in Grief Diaries: Loss of Health. We put together a compilation of stories from people from all over the world who have experienced the loss of health. Our vision was to provide insight to those who are going through loss of health as well as their loved ones and caregivers, to give them some understanding, empathy and courage knowing that they are not alone and others have walked this jagged path that has been laid before them.
And now, besides being a patient with psoriatic arthritis, a patient advocate and a blogger, my repertoire includes being a published author.
Grief Diaries: Loss of Health is available on Amazon: GriefDiaries
Of special note, CreakyJoints member Brenda Kleinsasser, who lives with rheumatoid arthritis, contributed her loss of health story to this Grief Diaries book project.