Happily though, in the midst of all this, my blood work shows that the Crohn's is under control. Humira is helping me and I am so glad for that. But Humira also causes side effects such as flu-like symptoms etc. So I wonder if I am just having a prolonged flu or if I am having a reaction to the Humira. My doctor says that my liver enzymes are on the rise and if they continue to rise I may have to discontinue Humira. I feel deep despair at the thought because I have tried everything else there is and Humira actually works for me. One step at a time, I guess. Time enough to see how things are in due course. No point worrying away now, best to save some worrying for later :)
Tears are so close that I cry a few times a day. I feel fragile. Very fragile. Small things cause me to cry. Something sad on tv and I cry. Some sad news in the papers, and I cry. One of my kids is gruff with me and I feel it in my heart, and I cry. My dear hubby says something sweet to me, and... you guessed it, I cry. I am crying as I write this! Oh dear me. Reduced to tears just by life itself. How can this be? I do know that the flu can be depressive. I am sure on some physiological level that is borne out somehow. Yah, like maybe dopamine levels are severely reduced because white blood cells need it to stay happy while fighting off infections! (what would I know? Nothing much obviously!)
I try my very best to be cheerful when the kids come home. I dish out hugs and smiles aplenty and listen to the debriefing of the day's events from the more loquacious younger ones and squeeze out monosyllabic details from the reticent older kids. I tell myself that I am well, it's just the flu, I am not in any major pain, I will make their time at home as pleasant as possible, and so I smile. Not incessantly like the Cheshire Cat or my kids would be worried for me, but just small smiles here and there to convey joy, love, acceptance, understanding etc. In fact a whole myriad of emotions and states can be conveyed by a simple smile.
There are so many cliches about smiles. I don't want to repeat them here. But I do want to acknowledge that smiles are powerful. There is latent strength in a smile. It blesses the one who smiles and the recipient of the smile. It empowers the smiler to rise above their situation and to be more than what they feel. I find that when I tell myself I have to be pleasant and I smile even if I don't feel like smiling, I ultimately feel more pleasant myself. In fact, smiling is to be recommended especially when you don't feel like smiling because of its transforming power. Even if the smile doesn't quite reach your eyes, it's getting there slowly. It's almost a process, if you like. Eventually, with sufficient usage, the smile will reflect a sense of wholeheartedness, starting from the heart and radiating through the eyes. My mantra through this flu-like phase is to "Cry Less, Smile More". It's retraining the heart and the eyes and basically the mind to get through some tough times with the twofold methods available to me... Crying and Laughing (Smiling gone crazy). I hope to cry a lot less, and smile and laugh so much more.
Of course, it's very hard, in fact, it's positively impossible to smile when you are in a lot of pain. I don't remember smiling when I have been in the throes of a terrible painful episode of colitis... in fact all I have ever wanted to do was to curl up and cry and be left alone and not have to talk to a single soul. Yes, sometimes pain is so overwhelming the body cannot bring itself to do anything except curl up and try to get through the pain. Smiling then would be ridiculous as well as impossible, really. No, there are moments of intense pain and grief etc when smiling is out of place indeed.
But on average, my life is not filled with intense pain or grief. It's filled with many good moments and wonderful things. Yes, this wretched flu has got me down. Maybe it's here to stay as long as I'm on Humira. Maybe not. But I can smile now. I must smile now. For my own soul. So I can be all I need to be to the ones who depend on me but also so I can be a better me. I am so much nicer when I smile. I know I am and folks have said I have a lovely smile. I believe them :) Anyway, all those muscles droop and make you look jowly and old if you don't use them and smile enough. Sometimes you look at photos of older people and you can tell if they've been happy by the look in their eyes and the lines on their faces. I want to grow old with a happy face. I want people to look at my photo and say,"Ahh, there's a face that shows she was happy. All those smiling lines and crow's feet, and that irrepressible twinkle in her eye!". Either that or they will say "What a grouch!". Oooh, I best get working on those smiling muscles. I'll lose them if I don't use them!
Smile so I can be transformed on the inside, smile so I can age well on the outside. Smiling is good for my body and my soul. That's what a simple smile can do. Here's sending you a smile today. Send it on to someone who needs it. Bless, and be blessed!
Thanks for reading,