I decided on the plane to Denver last night that this year, I will be strong. I chose not to ask for a wheelchair at the airport, and did not pre-board my flight. After being seated, the hostess asked me if I wanted a wheelchair upon arrival, as one had been ordered for me. I told her I was not sure – I would not know until I tried to stand at the end of the flight. Truth be told, even if I am in pain at the end of a flight, the best thing for that pain is walking. I’m better off to walk to baggage claim then to take the wheelchair. Upon arrival, I let the person holding the sign with my name and wheelchair know that I would not be needing it. That I would be walking.
In some ways this represents a change in mindset. Note that I still have a wheelchair booked for my flight home. We’ll see how I’m doing after a week of adventure. But I’m hopeful.
In some ways this aligns with the acceptance that my body will likely always be a little pain. A little pain is OK. As long as it is not a lot of pain, I’m good. In part this is a shift in attitude. I no longer want to think of myself as sick. I want to think of myself as healthy.
Reminds me of those stupid surveys that they make you do at the doctors office – where they ask you to rate your health. I never know how optimistic or pessimistic I should be on those surveys. If I rate my health as excellent the doctor won’t take my pain seriously, if I rate my health as pessimistic, they won’t think that I’m an active person and I’ll get a lecture about the need to exercise and eat healthy foods. As I wrote this last sentence I realized that I’m doing a little fortune telling (it is a fallacy in thinking that is often highlighted in cognitive behavioural therapy). For me, labelling the fallacy helps me move past it. It helps me change my thinking.
Another area of thinking that I had last year was the sense that “I’m broken”. That my body is broken, and I’m struggling to fix it. Anytime I try something else breaks. But I don’t see it that way anymore – again this was a fallacy in my thinking – there are many ways in which I am healthier and stronger than I was last year. And the diagnosis with celiac disease will help me be healthier.
All this to say, as I get ready to embark on my Epic Experience adventure, that I have decided that this year I am healthy and strong. I can choose how I feel about myself and my body. I am choosing to feel competent, strong, and well.