In the weeks leading up to my diagnosis and treatment, my home was a mess. Not my home life. Just, literally, my home. My level of functionality was pretty low. Many days it was all I could do to keep the kids fed and alive. I wanted to do so much more, but when I’d try to get up to do it, I was, totally winded and in incredible pain.
Then I was finally told how serious my condition was – that it wasn’t fleeting Nor would it be cured by week’s worth of pills. (I swear I totally thought this was going to be highly possible. I honestly don’t think it really crossed my mind that I would always have breathing issues.)
As I flew off to Mayo Clinic in November of last year, my mother flew in. We only missed each other at the airport by about 30 mins, and I’ve had help in my house ever since–until a week and a half ago. When I got back from Mayo, my mom tried to sit back and do nothing and let me take control back over my life, my kids, and my home. After a few days of witnessing how poorly I was able to do that, she quietly announced that she would get the laundry done. My mom was at my house for a total of six weeks.
Soon after my mom left, my stepmom arrived to help. Around the same time, our new assistant—who was there to help in any and all the ways I was falling short—(or needed coverage for the numerous doctor’s appointments and other health related things I needed to do) arrived. While they were both there – our assistant was able to help on many home projects that I never was able to accomplish after the move since the onset of symptoms came on so soon after.
Our assistant went grocery shopping, prepared meals, picked up after the kids, cleaned up our kitchen, did our laundry, and, of course, cared for any of the kids that happened to be around. Most often this was our littlest one, but sometimes all three of them. For personal reasons, she stopped working for us mid-August. I hired someone new, but due to things that changed in our life and things that were changing in hers, that relationship didn’t work out.
I decided it was time to see what I could do on my own. I’m now down to only using supplemental oxygen during exercise. I’m off the Prednisone and that also means I’m done with tapering. That means no weekly withdrawals to deal with. Our youngest is now two, and she became eligible for the two year- old preschool program where our son goes. I buckled down two weeks before school began and potty trained her, so she’s now actually eligible to stay until 3:30 in the afternoon with the three to five-year-olds even though she currently only stays until 12:30 (three days a week). My energy is higher; my mind is clearer than it was. I don’t feel I have as many down days. It just seemed like it is time.
I have a meal plan. I have a daily plan of which days I’m supposed to shop versus do house projects versus prep meals versus have open days. I have to stay that kind of organized, or it will totally slip away from me. I still have to take time for rest and a possible nap, if needed, every day. Thankfully, my two-year-old still happily takes naps, so it is easy to have that scheduled for myself too. Unfortunately, that two-year-old is also a crazy nut job that can wreck a house in the short amount of time it takes to cook dinner. (The dinner was already prepped hours before, but I have to let that go knowing that I can make up for it when she goes to school.)
Even though some days seem insurmountable, mostly I feel so proud for accomplishing the most mundane of household duties. I hope that I never forget how impossible it was for me to complete them before, so that I can hold onto the gratitude I have now for being able to do my family’s laundry, pick up after our kids, to cook for my family, to shop for our needs, to clean after all mess and fun happens.