When you have a condition that wears you down physically and emotionally, it is hard to stay positive. It’s hard to think beyond the struggle you are face every day and it is hard to even think about your future.
In recent years, when my pelvic pain was at its worst, my main priority was always to manage my pain and to get through the day. I didn’t bother dreaming about things I wanted to achieve, whether personally or professionally, as I thought I couldn’t do anything else but to make it through daily life.
Over the past few years however, I have been working hard to change my general mindset and perception of life, so naturally this perspective changed as well. Why shouldn’t I, or any woman with chronic pelvic pain, be able to hope and dream for the future? Just because we suffer from a chronic, painful, pelvic pain condition, doesn’t mean we can make something of our life, be happy and make a difference, does it? I know we don’t always control what (physical) challenges life throws at us, but we can choose how enthusiastic we’re willing to be and at least give life a try. Plus, dreams can distract you from the negative events in your life; drama can seem obsolete when you are passionate about following your dreams!
One of my dreams was to be able to go running for longer than a minute before passing out. But because of a past lung condition and my chronic pelvic pain, I always had a good (so I thought!) excuse not to. Until a few years ago, when my husband challenged me and told me you don’t know if you can’t do something until you actually try. Keen to prove a point, he helped me find a suitable running program for beginners. I started off very slowly with walking (2 months after my first laparoscopy) and made a deal with myself to try and train at least 3 times a week on average. I did not have to go out on days I felt really bad, but would try and go for at least a walk on days my pain level was manageable. Not putting pressure on myself, but still being reasonably strict, really worked for me. It took me a while, but within a year, I was able to run 6k without stopping. I NEVER in my life would have thought I could actually do that!
I learned I CAN achieve, just at my own pace and at my own terms. And you know what, the exercise reduced my pain and made me feel so much better in myself as well, so I gained more than I bargained for.
There is nothing stopping anyone from being ambitious and trying to achieve what we are dreaming of. The key for us perhaps is to keep it simple, start small and manage your own expectations. Success in life is not typically handed to anyone, but not all dreams require unbelievable amounts of work either. A dream is strong enough to define you, and once accomplished, you prove to your body that it has no say in who you can and can’t be and what you can achieve.
My outlook on the future looks so different now, and that thought alone makes me happier and more ambitious than I have ever been. I am still pondering over my 2017 resolutions, but I know for sure that I will never let go of my hopes and dreams ever again. Neither should you. Believe in yourself, keep trying and you will get there eventually!