Saturday, March 2, 2013

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I had originally envisioned this blog to merely be a practical guide to POTS (sometimes I have a tendency to be pragmatic and sensible to a fault), and this next post was going to be about exercise. However, after the flare-up I had this past week, I decided there is nothing impractical about opening my heart and giving the emotional and spiritual aspects of POTS their due attention.

Over the past 10-11 months, I have often repeated to myself, "Slow and steady wins the race."  Prior to my onset of Dyautonomia, I was your typical Type A personality.  Goal-oriented, busy, jumping from one thing to the next, over-committing myself at every turn, running 3 miles a few times a week for exercise... you get the idea.  Now imagine taking this Type A person and not allowing her to express herself in this way any longer.  I often can't commit in advance since I don't know how my POTS will be acting that day.  I feel far less reliable. I can't just jump out of bed in the morning and go for a run, or get so busy that I forget to eat or drink most of the day.  Everything must be done slowly and with patience.  I can't let go of the structure lest the POTS senses the weak spot and makes its move.

So while every day is a struggle and there is almost always the presence of symptoms to some degree (usually dizziness which just won't seem to relent), some days are definitely worse than others.  However, this past week, I had a multi-day flare-up that kept me out of work most of the week and feeling like I was losing all the progress I had been making over the past few months.  There was frustration, tears, impatience and just a general feeling like I was sick of fighting.  I went through my normal POTSy tricks and by yesterday I wanted to try really hard to go to work.  I was sitting on my couch, salt-loading, and just feeling blah, trying as hard as I could to find the strength and motivation to go to work.  My head swelled with worries and fears.  What if I start to have one of my pre-syncope attacks while I am driving, what if I get worse at work, what if my team is annoyed with me for missing the entire work week.  So as I sat there worrying, I prayed, asking God for the strength and the grace, and if he could, a little sign or message to help get me going.  I then decided to see if Regina Brett had any new blog posts I hadn't read yet and read her post about the next right step.  I thought ok, yeah, just make the next step... gather up your things, take a swig of water and drive to work.  Then a little later this message was further driven home.  A new Facebook friend whom I had begin chatting with this week through a POTS group posted the message for that day from her devotional, it read:

Follow me one step at a time. That is all I require of you. In fact that is the only way to move through this space/time world. You see huge mountains looming, and you start wondering how you are going to scale through those heights.  Meanwhile because you are not looking where you are going, you stumble on the easy path where I am leading you now. As I help you get back on your feet, you tell me how worried you are about the cliffs up ahead. But you don't know what will happen today, much less tomorrow. Our path may take an abrupt turn, leading you away from those mountains than is visible from this distance. If I do lead you up the cliffs, I will equip you thoroughly for that strenuous climb. I will even give My angels charge over you, to preserve you in all your ways. Keep your mind on the present journey enjoying My Presence. Walk by Faith not by sight trusting Me to open up the way before you.

It was like being hit over the head. Due to my goal-oriented nature, I have always been a begin-with-the-end-in-mind kind of girl.  Always planning, plotting the next move, I was in control.  And while lofty goals and dreams are certainly admirable and even necessary, maybe sometimes we need to learn to truly just take the next step and see what happens from there.  Stop staring at that huge mountain ahead and overwhelming ourselves, while trying to be the one who is in charge of it all.  Maybe instead of making a huge to-do list and then feeling like I've failed when I can't accomplish in one day what I used to be able to, I just start by taking a shower and see what the next step is... all while remembering, I am not the one in charge.  I can still "begin with the end in mind", but maybe instead of the end being in 1, 5 or 10 years, it can be in 1, 5, or 10 minutes... because after all, slow and steady does win the race.

Writing this post put this song in my head from Santa Claus is Coming 
to TownYes, I know it isn't Christmas time, but if you know me, you 
know I LOVE all things Christmas.