Thursday, March 28, 2013

On Being Powerless

We all want to be in control.  Sometimes we feel like we're succeeding, like we've got a handle on life and things are going the way we planned.

And then something comes out of the blue and smacks us in the head with a two by four and walks away giggling, knowing it has power over us.  We sit.  Dazed.  Trying to figure out what's going on.  Trying to get our bearings.  Trying to figure out what our next step should be.

I'm still dazed.

Two days ago our family received some scary medical information, an initial diagnosis.  My 19-year old daughter has a Chiari malformation in her skull which is putting pressure on her brain.  It was a whirlwind day of exam, MRI, diagnosis.  Now we are in a holding pattern, waiting to see a neurosurgeon and make a plan.

It's left me feeling very powerless.  Powerless against the insurance company that won't pay for the specialist our doctor wants us to see but insists on sending us to a different one.  Powerless against the schedule of the specialist that leaves us waiting for days before we can even schedule to meet to get any more answers.  Powerless against the emotions it's churning up in my family.  And powerless to change what is.

It's been a rough couple of days.  And the rough times aren't over.  They are probably just beginning.  I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I should do, how I can deal with it, how I feel.  I'm riding tumultuous waves of okay and freaked out.

But, for just this minute, I'm done focusing on what I'm powerless against.  Right this minute I want to focus on the power I still have.  I still have the power to decide how I'm going to face this.  And that matters.

I'm not going to put my life on hold.  I'm not going to drop all other responsibilities.  I'm not going to obsess.  I'm going to do the best I can to live my life while waiting.

And I'm going to practice what I preach and be kind to myself. 

When others tell me about difficult things they're going through, especially transitions, I ask them to be kind to themselves.  I ask them to allow themselves to feel what they need to feel and not judge themselves for it.  I ask them to give themselves time to make decisions, to not force them just because someone else wants an immediate answer.  I ask them to practice good self-care.  I ask them to be as kind to themselves as they would to a dear friend if they were the ones going through this.

So this is my game plan.  I'm going to live my life as normally as I can.  I am going to drop everything and cry when I need to.  Then I'm going to pick it back up again.  I am going to take care of myself.  I am going to respect the feelings of my family members but not feel accountable to fix those feelings.  I am not going to project all the possibilities at this point.  I'm going to wait for further information.  If it's going to get ugly in the future, I'm going to let that be in the future.  I'm not going to let the possibility of future stress ruin now.

We're going to get through this.  We're going to be okay.  But I'm not willing to wait.  I'm not going to sit and wallow in the toxic stew of powerlessness.  I'm choosing to be okay now.


Bonnie said...

Way to handle. Powerlessness is an opportunity to experience the power of God, I've discovered. He will hold you in the palm of His hand. Many prayers for you and for Sam.

Organized Island said...

I am so glad that you are being kind to yourself. I am sorry to hear of your rough days and will keep your daughter and your family in my prayers. When it comes to our kids, we especially feel powerless. I hope you get some answers soon.

MaggieJo said...

Lots of prayers.

Unknown said...

I'm so very sorry that you and your family are going through this. I hope you get answers and get set on a treatment plan as soon as possible. Sometimes the inbetweens are the hardest moments. I'll keep you and yours in my thoughts.

Margy said...

Just reading this now. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers! Your description of claiming the power you do have reminds me of the Alice Walker quote I use in my class "The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." Take care my friend.

Tamara Camera said...

So difficult. And yes, children and medical issues are probably the thing I have the least control of that I want the most control of. And it messes with me. Many prayers to your family.

Angela said...

Your game plan is perfect, print it out and frame it! Prayers and thoughts to you and your family.

Tracie Nall said...

I'm praying for your daughter, and for you, and for the rest of the family, too.

Your plan is solid. You can make it through this.

another jennifer said...

I think you are approaching a tough situation in the perfect way. Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way.

Erin @ The Grass Skirt said...

Keeping you in my thoughts. XOXO

Sarah Alves said...

"I am going to practice what I preach and be kind to myself."

WOW - what a great quote! I have been through something similar. My sister is a cancer survivor so there were a few years where my whole family felt very powerless, but in the end it made us so very strong. You are amazing!

Also - thank you so much for visiting last week and making my SITS Day extra special! Thank you so much for your support :)

Hoppy Easter!


P.S. I'd love it if you would follow me on Facbook!

Savvyworkinggal said...

I hate how insurance companies now dictate the kind of care we receive with their purse strings, but I don't want this comment to be an insurance rant.

I want to compliment you on how you're working through this by remembering what you would tell others in tough situations. You are giving yourself excellent advice. I will be thinking of you and your daughter.

Libby said...

When I read this Miss Robin my first thought was how well you are handling this. I'm so overwhelmed at your resolve. I am sending sunny Australian thoughts and prayers your way.