Seasonal Changes Remind Me to Take Care of Myself

Lori Dunham avatar

by Lori Dunham |

Share this article:

Share article via email
misconceptions | Main graphic for column titled

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” — L. M. Montgomery, “Anne of Green Gables”

October has always been one of my favorite months. I grew up in the beautiful Northeast of the U.S., where autumn meant driving down back roads lined with towering trees topped with burnt orange and fire engine red leaves. Saturdays were filled with hayrides and pumpkin patches. Sips of apple cider indicated that fall had arrived.

When our daughter Grace got sick, I felt like the joy had been sucked out of everything I previously enjoyed. Days slipped by unremarkably. Seasons blurred together. Days shortened, then grew longer again without me noticing.

My daughter’s diagnosis of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) fractured my life into “before” and “after.” Pre-LEMS, life was all sweet-smelling roses, and days spilled over with crisp, clear color. Post-LEMS, our days seemed to be written in black and white.

Some days, I never thought I would smile again. Despair wrapped itself around me, and I couldn’t shake it off.

Recommended Reading
misconceptions | Main graphic for column titled

How the Hope of Today Helped Me Face the Trauma of Yesterday

Eventually, I learned how to claw my way out of despair and hopelessness. To help my daughter through this illness, I needed to be healthy, both mentally and physically.

Self-care did not come naturally to me. I suspect this is the case for many mothers and caretakers. We willingly put our loved ones and their needs before our own. But there comes a time when we need to purposefully pour into ourselves so we can continue to pour into those around us.

I began reclaiming my favorite things. My previous passions slowly began to reawaken. Baking had once been my favorite pastime, but it was the first thing I gave up when Grace got sick. Food had no taste to me. I didn’t have the energy to bake for my neighbors and friends. What had once brought me joy seemed like a chore.

Slowly, I made my way back into the kitchen. Turning my focus toward blessing other people, and providing yummy treats for my family, helped me practice self-care and reclaim some of the joy of baking.

One of my favorite places on earth has always been the beach. Our family has lived by some of the most beautiful waters in the world. The beach has brought me such peace and joy in the past. But when Grace got sick, the ocean just brought me waves of sadness. It was a reminder of what she could no longer do. So, I turned my back on it.

I ignored my love of the beach until the day I seriously contemplated self-care. The beach began to gently call my name. When I started carving out time for things I genuinely enjoyed doing, my mind started pulling me back toward the ocean.

self-care | Lambert Eaton News | A photo of gentle waves crashing at the beach beneath a blue sky. A boat is visible in the distance.

A fall day at the beach. (Photo by Lori Dunham)

Today, my autumn days look quite different from the typical October day in the Northeast. We don’t have crunchy leaves to jump into or apple cider mills to enjoy. But we do have the beach. And it’s calling my name once again.

It has taken a long time to restore what had been lost because of our daughter’s illness. But we live today with hope as our companion. We cling to our faith and the promise of John 10:10: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

***

Note: Lambert-Eaton News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lambert-Eaton News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Lambert-Eaton myasthenia syndrome.

Comments

Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.