Please Don’t Forget About Me

I have to cancel plans. Again. I don’t want to, but it’s more than I can manage today.

My jaw pain is intense. It dislocated again last night, which is happening a lot these days. My condyles are so small and the fossa so incredibly shallow, the joint simply slips out of place. And then I talked and smiled too much today. It’s ironic that it physically hurts to be friendly.

I am also struggling greatly with exhaustion, with obstructive sleep apnea being the culprit. Even though I have a new mouthpiece to wear at night, I am still not getting the restorative rest I desperately need. I won’t go through all these details, though.

I know you are busy, and you just need to know I won’t be there.

But please don’t forget about me.

Living with chronic health issues is hard. Missing out on life is harder.

I don’t want to stay home. I want to be with you. I want to be able to laugh and create new memories together. I want to eat delicious food and share stories.

Maybe I would tell you about some of my hilarious stories from the kitchen from years gone past, like how I got mixed up attempting to make spaghetti and boiled the meat instead of boiling the noodles. Let’s just say I’ve learned a lot since my early days!

Oh I have a lot of stories…

I’m at home though, because it is a rough day. I miss sharing this time with you.

Please don’t forget about me.

I will see your Facebook pictures posted later, and I will be really glad you had a special day today. But I will also struggle with sadness, because I wasn’t able to be there to experience these moments alongside you.

I want to be included, but it’s hard. And sometimes it’s not even a possibility.

With my energy level hovering near empty all day long and ongoing jaw pain, it’s hard for me to contribute to activities and conversations in the ways I would like. When I do talk, if it’s a hard pain day, it may be difficult for you to understand me. If I use my dry-erase board, the rhythms of communication take some getting used to.

It all feels awkward to me, too.

You have a full life with all kinds of responsibilities and activities. In contrast, my daily life is much slower and not nearly as outwardly impressive as yours.

Please don’t forget about me.

In years past, I used to live with great ambition and energy, but I simply don’t have much in the tank these days. In high school I was a star saxophone player, in college I was a campus ministry leader, and afterward I enjoyed a fulfilling teaching career. Life took on a different pace when I became a stay-at-home mom, but it was full in its own way. But then I developed these sleep and pain issues that have handcuffed me in more ways than you probably realize.

When I am able to get out, you see me dressed, in make-up, and eager to be with you. I am an extrovert, after all! But you haven’t seen the preparation I have had to do beforehand and the extensive resting I have had to do afterwards.

For example, going to my doctor’s appointment this morning was a struggle. Usually for appointments someone joins me, but today I just went by myself. Between smiling at the parking attendant, those in the elevator, checking in with the receptionist, exchanging pleasantries with the nurse, and then speaking with my doctor for ten minutes, my jaw had had too much. I had significantly overdone it. Now my jaw aches and throbs, as it always does after I have used it too much. It demands my full attention. I had been so wrapped up in getting my son to school earlier that I didn’t think to bring my dry-erase board to my doctor’s appointment. And now I am paying for it.

I am home now, and I will rest, do infrared therapy on my jaw, and hydrogen insufflation therapy through my nose. I am looking forward to ozone injections in a few days that will help my jaw pain, at least temporarily. Until then, I need to make concerted efforts to not talk, or my pain will worsen.

I will try not to over-analyze how my body is doing, but there is a part of me that says, “Things shouldn’t be this way.”

Please don’t forget about me.

Remind me that I am important to you. That you are praying for me. That you are in my corner.

Please text me, send a card, or make a short visit. I need your hugs and reminders that I am loved.

I feel self-conscious these days about how many times I haven’t been there for you or your family. You see, it is often a struggle for me to get through each day, and I don’t have much left to give. I grieve our time apart.

I miss you. And many times I feel like life is passing me by.

This is me now, in my 30s. But someday this may be you. It could be sometime in the next few years or later in the sunset of your life. You will be lonely, too. But I will do my best to be there for you, because I understand what a difficult road this is.

I will do my best to not forget about you… And please don’t forget about me.