After a summer of fighting health issues, I looked forward to Fall and cooler weather. But the coolness did not come. The leaves turned and fell from the trees, but rain did not come. A drought the likes of which we have not seen in many a year fell over the western NC mountains.
I was actually happy when my teaching ended for the year and the Writers Circle classes ended. That is unusual, but this year the effort to load my car for my Tri-County Classes and to carry books upstairs and to classes, was overwhelming. I had wonderful students who often met my car and helped me. But at home, setting up for a class in my studio became a huge chore because I had to carry things from my kitchen upstairs down to my studio. After classes, I had to carry glasses and cups up to the kitchen again to wash them.
Because of major back pain, I could not vacuum, lift anything over ten pounds, and could not stand on my feet for long. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity grew worse and I had to resort to emergency oxygen at home to be used when something triggered an asthma attack.
My mind was running full blast with ideas for classes, for instructors I hoped to bring to my studio, but my body did not cooperate. I'm sure others have felt this frustration. I began to think I would have to stop teaching and stop holding classes at my studio.
I am a gregarious person. I love to be with people who are interesting, who can hold a good conversation by listening and sharing. At home I have been working on a book that my friend, Estelle Rice, and I will publish in the new year. She and I try to get together at least once each week for lunch or to proof read each other's writing.
But by late September and early November, I had to cancel many of our plans. I just could not get up and get out. Fatigue overcame me at times and I had to sleep, to go to bed for two hours sometime in the afternoon.
My doctor's checkups showed nothing to be concerned about. I was told to exercise more, but I had no energy to exercise and I can't walk due to pain in my feet. The one day I tried to use the bicycle at the gym, I strained my back and injured my knee which still hurts at times today.
My invisible illnesses, fibromyalgia, MCS, neuropathy, and diabetes were having their way with me, but anyone who saw me would not believe I had anything wrong. Those who read about these illnesses know that each of them take a toll on the body. But I am not a quitter and I love what I do, so I have always pushed through the pain, the tiredness, and the brain fog to live the life I enjoy.
Finally, in November our mountains erupted in wild fires. Some were set by humans and some spread because of the wind and the extremely dry situation.
The Boteler Fire was closest to my house. One evening I received an emergency alert call saying houses in eastern Clay County were being evacuated. The call did not say where, so I drove out to see what I could see, but smoke covered the highway and I could not see the flames from my car. A friend called and said I should leave my home. "Get out of there now," she said. "Your house is about two hours from the fire."
I packed a suitcase with clothes and my laptop. I grabbed Lexie my dog and her bag and drove south to a town where there were no fires. I rented a motel room for two days. My cell phone would not work because a cell tower was down. To use the motel phone for long distance, I had to have a phone card. I did not have one.
The Internet was my source of communication that first night. I could not find out anything about the fire near my house. I didn't sleep at all. The next day I was able to use my cell and finally found a source online with updates on the fire. It was only ten percent contained and a number of homes had been evacuated.
I made the decision to evacuate my home in my own time, not wait until someone came to my door and said I had to get out right then. So with the help of two friends, we packed up my most precious things that I could not replace and I drove down to my sister's house outside Atlanta.
I was exhausted when I got there from the stress and fear of losing everything. Gay, my sweet sister, pampered me and let me rest. She took responsibility of my dog most of the time and let me sleep. I slept at night and often slept more in the day time. I soon realized that I felt better, physically, than I had at home. I had no need for my oxygen while I was there. I had less pain than when I was home except for one night after we had taken a long walk in the park. That night was tough. Gay nursed me like she was an RN with heating pads and back rubs and energy healing. She does EFT and Reiki. I finally was able to sleep without pain.
During this time I wondered if I should make the move to a place where I could have help when I needed it. Maybe I should live closer to Gay where I could call on her if I needed her.
But after two weeks away I awoke one morning with an anxious feeling and a need to go home. I knew that the fire had not reached my neighborhood or my house, but my friends told me the smoke was still bad. When I arrived in Hayesville it was nearly dark, so I only removed a few things from the car. The house had a heavy smoke smell so I opened windows and doors and turned on fans. Even with air purifiers going in all upstairs rooms, I developed a hoarseness that hung on for a week.
Now it is December and I wanted my house to have a holiday look and feel. My decorations are stored in the basement. That means I had to bring things up those stairs and that has become awfully hard for me now. Once again I called on people I know. M.J. came over Sunday and helped me string some lights across my upper deck. She carried the boxes up the stairs and loaded some things in my car. She is a sweet person who runs her own business in our town. While I have good friends I can call on, I hate to always be in need of help. And I compensate anyone who does come to my aid.
Today I talked to a man who constructs houses and has developed a fifty-five plus community right off the square in our town. I am seriously considering selling my house that I have loved for so long and downsizing to a one level three bedroom house where all my outside maintenance will be taken care of for me. The area will be half of what I have now. I can have Lexie and a small fenced pen for her.
I am seeking new medical help for my pain and feel better about my future. I think I will enjoy this Christmas after all. All my worries and frustrations are not gone, but many of them seem to be on their way out. I have always had trouble letting go of things that I can't find a solution for. But I have to accept that some things cannot be fixed, some people will not cooperate with me and I have to let go. When worry and emotional situations begin to affect my health, I have to let go. I am grateful for dear friends, Estelle and Mary Mike, and for my sister, Gay. I am grateful for my readers who read my blog posts, especially for those who leave comments or email me.
I hope your Christmas and holiday plans are going well and that you will have a festive and happy time.