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Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Unpredictable Road Ahead

By Kiara Tatum

It’s the New Year 2014, and we made it through the obstacles of 2013.  However, it doesn't mean that 2014 is guaranteed to be easier than the previous year.  Life is a journey or perhaps it is more like a cross country road trip with family and/or friends, and you will have great moments and memories along the trip. However, you will also run into bumps on the road. Whether it’s a flat tire, running out of gas, overheating of the car, disagreements along the way, it’s definitely not an easy trip. Having PH makes our journey a little bumpier than others.

2013 was a very difficult year for me. I was grieving a loss of my good friend, who died from PH complications.  I had built up anger, and I was feeling very depressed and hopeless.  Also, my family grew with a brother-in-law and his family as well as a new baby nephew.   I started teaching two classes a semester at the local community college, so I had stress from work.  I started dating which is another posting in itself.  I was even hospitalized at the beginning of the year.  And I was involved in some conflicts that I was getting into throughout the year because of my anger and being on that emotional rollercoaster.

But I learned a few lessons in 2013 that will help me get through 2014.  I would like to share some of those things with you which you may already know or practice now.  
  1. Let go of the anger.  I’m so tired of being angry about having PH.  I want a life that is not controlled by PH, a PH free life, but I know that doesn't exist for me at the moment, so I have to learn to live within the bounds of PH.  By giving up PH’s control over my life, I see that I have accomplished more this year than I thought would have been possible.  I've taught two classes each semester, spring 2013 and fall 2013 despite being hospitalized in January 2013 just before my first time teaching two classes a semester. I spent lots quality time with my family; I went to Boston for PHA on the Road; I spent time with friends near; and talked to friends afar.  I think I have spent enough time being angry about PH.
  2. Be content in every situation.  I was reading a devotional one day, and it talked about being content in every state. It's a hard lesson to learn, but I'm learning it. Whether I'm spending time with my family or lying in a hospital bed, I will be content.  No matter what the circumstance is, I have to learn to be content.  No more wanting something different, no more anger, and no more hopelessness.
  3. Know you’re never alone.  As a patient or even as a caregiver, family or friend of a PH patient, we take on a lot of the burden all by ourselves.  Situations become more difficult for anyone to handle all by yourself.  There was a moment when I was so low that I didn't know what to do, so I prayed and then called a friend.  She talked to me, and then after work she came to my house and stayed with me for a while.  We had dinner out and talked about what I was going through. Through my faith, my family, and friends, I knew I wasn't alone and that I was loved by a lot of people.
  4. Have ME time.  I realized that I need on a daily basis at least 15 minutes to just be with myself.  I take that time to get away from others, my cell phone, Facebook, and television.  I take that time to either write in my journal or read a devotional. Make time to be with yourself.  This can be a time for meditation, a hot bath, or whatever you need to do for yourself to relax, renew yourself, and refresh from the day.
  5. Be hopeful.  Stop faking being hopeful; just be it. Throughout the year, I was trying so hard to be hopeful, but I couldn't feel it inside.  I was so hopeless about my situation of having PH, not being able to have a child of my own, and feeling lonely.  But as I said before, I'm never really alone. I'm seeing that my family is growing, I have so much love in my life from others who care so deeply about me.  I let the hope of a cure, finding love, and so much more fill me up, so that I can make it through each and every day.  
These may help you get through 2014 when you come across those speed bumps on the road.  I have been able to get through those challenges, troubles, storms, obstacles along my journey to make it through 2013, and I am going to try to make it through 2014 despite PH.  Have a wonderful New Year!!!

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