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My Epiphany

I’ve had an epiphany. . thought I’d share.

The last few weeks have been extremely difficult ones for me. My RA has been flaring up worse than ever before with pain in both feet, both knees, and both hands , as well as aches and pains throughout my body. The flare-up began in May and June, when I was traveling so much. As the pain worsened, I told myself (and others), “I’ll be fine as soon as I get home and am able to rest, eat better, and start exercising again.”

Well, I got home and rested and ate better. Couldn’t exercise much, it simply hurt too much to ride or do yoga. And I didn’t feel better. In fact, it got worse. I lived on Advil the week of convention. But I kept my positive outlook, thinking that after convention, I’d take things easy and my body would finally shape right up.

Last week things were as bad as they’ve ever been. I could hardly walk by myself. . . it hurt to sit down and stand up and just about everything else 

“There must be something I should be learning,” I told a friend. “I’m doing everything I should to let my body rest and heal, and it’s not working. So there’s something else going on here, and I need to figure out what it is.”

Here comes the epiphany part.

Thinking back over what’s been happening since my accident in August, I realized that I’m not very patient; in fact, I’m downright demanding of myself. After the accident, doctors told me it would take at least a year before I was fully recovered. I quietly told myself that I would give it six months, then I willed myself to make it happen.

Sure, I thought I was taking it easy. . .I was resting and eating right and letting people do a lot of things for me. But I was also having meetings at my house and running errands and getting back up on a horse and doing 30-day yoga challenges and. . . well, you get the idea.

Everyone was amazed. I had “recovered” in record time. 

Not me. Things were going exactly as I had planned.

Fast forward a few months, and I think I’ve finally realized that God’s plan might be a little different from mine. I’ve blamed this flare-up on the traveling and not eating great and so many other things. But I think it might simply be that I need to figure out this patience thing. Instead of telling my body what needs to happen, I need to listen to my body and let it tell me what needs to happen. And at the same time, I need to listen to that still small voice and make sure I’m letting it tell me what needs to happen as well.

Bottom line: Instead of focusing on next week or next month when I will start feeling better, I need to let go and let God. Have faith. Be patient. Be happy.

While the faith and happy part aren’t new (or hard) to me—and I thought I’d mastered the patient part as well—I’m thinking maybe I wasn’t patient enough. I pushed myself too hard, too fast, and I’m experiencing the natural consequence of not allowing my body the time it needed to really heal.

So, patience is my new mantra. I’m walking slower, resting often, letting expectations go, and learning to accept where I am right now without impatiently looking too far into the future.

This might not be a bad way to live.


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Reader Comments (31)

Shelli, sorry to hear things are not going the way you want them to. I was always told that the best medicine after any accident or illness is REST. Rest heals more than you know, even if you feel great, your body still knows best. So hang in there take it day by day and yes REST. My thoughts and prayers are with you and God is Always there with you. God Bless and Hugs!
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTracy
Deep breath...release slowly... and slow down. I had that same realization just this morning. In January I twisted to get something from the back seat of the car (don't ever do this by the way) and got a bulging disk between my last vertebra and the sacrum. I could barely walk and was loosing feeling in my legs and my right foot dragged when I walked. Well, after tests, when we found out about the disk, my doctor said I needed PT or to go to a chiropractor or do surgery. Well, I chose the chiropractor, less costly for one and I was not doing surgery. He said that that move (reaching into the back seat from the front) keeps him in business. He first said surgery was the only option for me, since I had the dragging foot. But I could do so many of the other tests he put me through that he said he'd try adjustments. Well, after four months of going, I was sooo much better, no pain to walk, no drag, no nerve vibrations in the foot, etc. He released me to only come when I need, but I'm not suppose to do stairs. Well, yesterday I did the stairs, thinking it was past time and boy was I wrong. I did not listen to the nagging ache in by tail bone and I paid for it, felt a sharp pain on my way down the steps, which went away in a few hours. Just this morning was walking too fast to get down to another office at work, felt that same thing. Slowed my pace and realized I was trying to do too much and needed to continue to listen to the body more. Small steps, deep breaths and hopefully in a few months I'll be all better. I may need to visit the chiropractor a time or two more, but I do my exercises at home and hope to continue to heal. I sure hope you are able to listen to that inner voice and take the time to fully mend. It really isn't easy, I'm sooo not a patient person either, but when I over do the vibration comes back in the foot or leg, so then I'm forced to 'hear' that and slow down. I hope you find that voice and patience. <sorry this is so long>
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJill K. Harris
Good for you, for choosing to look with that perspective. And thank you for sharing it with us :-) Especially as women, we always seem to multitask, even if it's just in our minds. When we are "relaxing" or "resting" we are constantly thinking of what we can do for others, which often turns into what we can do for ourselves so others don't have to be burdened with our needs anymore than we think they should be. At least that's where my mind goes, especially when I have flare ups. This is something that I need to work on also--not only making time for me, and to take care of me, but to be present in the space of taking care of me, just for the sake of taking care of me. No motives to meet any expectations (which often creates the urge to push ourselves, which just creates stress), but instead just to take care of me on my body's schedule instead of trying to force my needs to wait until I schedule them. Take care, and heal well :-)
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKimberley Morris
Shelli I think you are right.. reminds me of that song Don't Worry BE Happy! I will have to consider this as well as my surgery is on August 14th and I need to let my body heal before tackling the bigger stuff. Easy said and hard to do sometimes.
Love you and take it easy for now.

Debi Pippin
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDebi Pippin
Shelli, you are a "dynamo". You are a successful business executive. You are a loving wife, mother, and grandmother with a beautiful family. You give freely to others. You do everything with a smile. Sometimes we just need to slow it all down. Thankfully you heard that little voice because you have to take care of yourself first in order to help others. Thanks for sharing your Epiphany. It's a good reminder for all of us. Wishing you the best as your body recovers on it's own schedule.
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarol
Thank you for sharing your struggles. My friend Diana Tillerly shared your post. Boy did it ring ture to me. I am recovering from total knee replacement surgery and I have found myself, even today at three months out feeling frustrated. Thank you for the sweet reminder to have faith, be happy and to be patient.
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargo Mackay
So sorry you are not doing well. And so glad you are going to slow down and rest. My RA long ago put me in a wheelchair. Please rest pushing while in a flare can do so much damage. Pray you do better soon.
You are so wonderful we need you with us.
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMillie Crum
Let's see -- highly creative, multi-tasker, Type A, CEO, mom & grandma.
Not surprised that patience is not on that list and that it is hard for you to take it easy. Please try. Thank you for sharing your epiphany with all of us; I could use a bit more patience and less go-go-go myself.
Mary Beth
San Diego
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary Beth West
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMare Williams
I'm paying for you and hope you will be well soon.
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGina Ablrs
It's scary to relinquish control of things in our lives, but I know you know that God has a better plan than you can even dream for yourself. What a wonderful blessing to have a supportive family and team--they will pick up the slack as you allow your body to recover. Prayers are headed your way!
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Davidse
Over the past 10 years I have 'learned' to listen to my body and when I decide to close my ears I suffer. Then it takes a lot longer for me to get back on track and move on. So listen to what you are saying, repeat it out loud if you must and remind yourself that you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJane
Way to go! Rooting for you to make, er... let it happen!
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle M.
Here's our close in tai chi:
Take a deep breath. Release it.
And another one.
Hands are heavy, arms are heavy, shoulders relaxed, tongue on the upper part of the palette.
Take a a deep breath. Release it. Listen to your body. Be aware of it.
Take a deep breath.
Ch'in li. Salute.
Pin hou. Very good.
August 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather H
So sorry to hear what you're going through...patience is a hard thing to learn but listening to your body is such a wise choice.
August 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter~amy~
Have you tried rituxan for your RA.

In December 2013, I was diagnosed with both Hodgkin's classic lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's b-cell follicular lymphoma, a rare combination. As of this date, I'm not sure I'm in remission, but feel pretty sure I am after 6 rounds of chemotherapy and 18 rounds of radiation therapy. It wasn't easy; I did slow down and life is very sweet. I have had to accept help; and stopped being a SU demo; went on short term disability. Don't know if I will come back as a SU demo, but I still love the products and love cardmaking I went back to work, and wondering if I should have done that.

So Shelli, all accolades on your speedy recovery from your horrible accident. Patience is good; life is good; family is good; but God is great. In the stillness, you will hear His voice. You have created an awesome company with awesome daughters to keep this running should you decide to retire.

And I do so hope you feel better. I mentioned the rituzan as it is considered a wonder drug for b-cell lymphomas, plus it works for RA.
August 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanB
Oh Shelli...so glad you are heeding the AHA moment....God has knocked me on my butt a few times......I'm pigheaded, just don't listen, and always want to be in control. I need those thunk in the head...I should have had a V-8 moments every once in a while....I am getting better...hang in there lady, sit back, and just enjoy the ride!!! I didn't make it to convention this year, one of the few I've missed...but am planning on next year...I have 2 big milestones to celebrate!!!
August 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Waskewicz
So sorry for the pain you are having. I felt something was off during convention....
My ALS is progressing even though I'm still struggling to hang onto normal daily activities. I need to follow your advice to let go and let God. Since my diagnosis I've said God will see me through this but living that is hard.
Please continue to share your journey.
August 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKristina
Being patient does not come easy for any of us. I have had to learn patience after a leg amputation in January from a nerve disorder that I suffered with for 7 years. I had it pretty much under control and was able to do most things (including convention) until I had a car accident 2 1/2 years ago, which lead to the amputation. Through all of that I have had to learn a great deal of patients. What helped me was a book from Simple Truths called "Learning to Dance in the Rain", a book on gratitude, and I am grateful everyday. I have to make a list of things to be done or "to do's" and when I finish them I mark them off and I have a "ta da" and I am happy I finished. It is hard to slow down because as you said we think we do it all. not sure if that is a female thing or not. I am hoping that next year I will be able to attend convention, get back on the golf coarse, and do a little traveling, at least that is my goal. Take care of yourself.
August 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSara Kroske
Faith will pull you through and may the love surrounding you bring you comfort.
August 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWendie Waldman
The theme at my church for July was "patience" The book was Power of Patience by M.J.. Ryan. Easy reading. One insight was God's timing may differ from what we expect. Sound familiar. I find simply deep breathing helpful
When I do my self healing I'll send healing energy to you.
Love, Heather
August 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather W AB, Can
I can soooo empathize with you, Shelli. I cope with osteoarthritis on a daily basis and yes, some days are not as good as others. I, too, feel the pain in my neck, shoulders, hips, hands and knees. I have learned to manage the chronic pain through Tai Chi and also practicing yoga. Four years ago, I became a certified instructor for Tai Chi for arthritis, a program supported by the Arthritis Foundation. I highly recommend you try Tai Chi. I will be practicing & teaching Tai Chi the rest of my life. If I were closer, I would hop on over & give you lessons. I love Tai Chi and it has become my life focus. Check out the Tai Chi for Health website. I see that there are only 2 instructors in Utah. There are also aquatic classes for arthritis. I only take Alleve sparingly when I know I've overdone it, doing too much. The body tells you when you need to take it easy and rest. Sitting for long periods of time can bring discomfort, but if you know a few Qi Gong exercises, your pain can be more manageable. You can do Tai Chi any where, even on a plane. Let me know if I can give you more details. Tai chi will absolutely change your life.
August 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLynn Lim
Sometimes we need to simply listen to our body. It is the house we live in that speaks to us within. We forget to listen to ourselves. We get busy interacting and listening to everything around us. It sounds like you are back in touch with yourself now. Good things will surely follow!
August 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Scudiere
So sorry to hear about your flare up Shelli. It was great to speak with you at Convention and you even were able to meet my baby, Sophia! Although I noticed when we were done Sterling was helping you walk. I thought, what an amazing lady. To take the extra time to meet and greet strangers and smile (your beautiful signature smile) through the pain and probably exhaustion, to make someone else's day. You're such a thoughtful person. So you should take time for yourself, to relax, recharge, rest. You deserve it so much. I'll be praying for your healing!!xoxo
August 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlene Becker
Thank you for sharing Shelli. I'm sorry you are hurting, but I'm happy that you trust in God and know He is guiding you. I figure you have outstanding doctors who know what they are doing. But I wanted to share that I did not have RA but I did have issues with my legs and feet as well and found out it was the aspartame in the Crystal LIght I was drinking. Just wanted to pass this information along to you in case your body is reacting to it as well. Much love to you and your family.
August 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Hill

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