Monday Reflection: Gettin My Groove Back!
By Rae Lewis-Thornton
March 13, 2012
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
If you had seen me walking down the street yesterday pushing my grocery cart, you would have thought I had won the lotto or something. For Real... For Real... But that was nothing of the sort, I was just happy to be able to go grocery shopping. It hit me as I was walking up and down the aisles yesterday that it's been months since I've been able to do this simple chore.
Yes, I would go to the store every now and then, but the task was physically just too much for me and I've had to get most of my groceries delivered by Pea Pod. That's a great service, but it's limited. Plus, there's nothing like being able to walk those aisles and get what you really want, but more importantly, just the ability to do it, is a blessing.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not confused that some people don't have money for groceries and I'm grateful for the money to buy. I don't want you to think I'm minimizing that fact. It's just that I'm also grateful for the ability to perform this simple task. Walking has been an issue for me in the months past.
First, there was the herpes that was painful between my legs, then the neuropathy that was painful to my feet. It feels like someone is sticking pins in the bottom of my feet. While the pain has not totally subsided, I thank God the pain is reduced greatly.
Doing simple things just wasn't happening. Oh yeah, let's not forget the just flat out fatigue from the IV medication that zapped the freaking life out of me. There were days when I didn't want to wash my ass, more less, go get groceries.
But I'm gettin my groove back! Yes, I am! After I ended the 49 days of IV medication, I turned around and had a biopsy in the opening of my vagina and that shut me down yet another week. It was all a bit much.
But ain't I glad trouble don't last always. Yep, I'm gettin my groove back. The herpes is all gone, the IV medication is out of my system and I'm all healed down bottom!
Yep! I'm gettin my groove back. We never think about the simple things that a person cannot do when they are sick, but I face it every single time I get shut down. Its like my entire life stops.
Yes, I try to keep up as best as I can. There's a part of me that cannot let AIDS take everything I got, but certainly, I'm not able to do half of what I'm able to when all things are equal. Now be clear, there are still limitations with my, "Normal" like HIV related fatigue, mild neuropathy, medication side-effects, mainly head-aches, Functional Bowel Syndrome, which creates, diarrhea, daily nausea and food sensitivity; Sometimes, just the taste of food makes me sick. It's a lot to deal with on a daily basis, but over the years, I'm able to manage it, figure it out, fight it. The bottom line, I'm able to keep it moving in spite of it all, but lately, keeping it moving was at a very, very, very slow pace.
So yesterday, I was grinning ear to ear pushing my shopping cart down the street home. There was a level of gratitude in my heart for just this simple task. I came home, unpacked my groceries and made dinner; collard greens, short ribs and buttermilk corn beard. In the last few months, I was so tired of carry out and frozen meals that I thought I was gonna lose my mind. I even washed four loads of clothes last night. Yep, I'm gettin my groove back!
Now that I'm back to my, "Normal," the most difficult thing for me is going to be creating balance. I'm so behind in all my tasks, I want to do it all in one flash. The overachiever in me wants all of my life back as soon as possible; But I decided last night, that I'm going to pace myself. I'm just too happy to be able to do the simplest things right now.
When you're going through something it feels like things are never going to change. The longer it takes to see some positive change, the heavier your heart becomes. I've learned over the years, no matter how dark it is in the right now, just keep holding on. Do what you must to make it through another day. Even if you have to tie a knot at the end of that rope, just do it!
Hang on for dear life because as sure as I'm typing this right now, a change will come. Yep, that's exactly what I did. I kept holding on. I kept doing what I needed to do for my health to get better. I took the hits one bunch at a time. Now today here I am, I Got my Groove Back!
Rae Lewis-Thornton Speaks
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
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