Once a week on Thursdays at the hospital, a special group of people gather together. There, on the 4th floor of Dunn Tower, is the Heart/Lung Transplant Support Group. I’m a regular there, and have been way before I was even listed for my transplant. I credit a lot of people there for helping me to even come to the decision to stick with the whole process, sharing with me their very personal journeys, be it bad or good. And now, as I am on the other side, it’s my turn to pay it forward.
Recently, I was able to share with someone what I think has been my greatest piece of advice. Something that has helped me personally since I was admitted into the hospital in February and knew I wouldn’t leave without my lungs, until now, trying to regain my strength after years and years of chronic illness – having goals.
It sounds mundane maybe, cliche even. But, for me, having clear, set goals that I want to achieve in mind has been the greatest motivator to be able to overcome all the challenges of not only being a transplant patient, but being a person suffering from chronic illness, or just being a human being in a world challenging to live in in general.
Just think about it. You wake up in the morning, pop open your eyes, and the first thing you think is, “Oh, great. Another day of nothing. No where to go. No one to see. Nothing to do.” What kind of motivation is that to get up and take your medicine? Do you exercise? Get stronger? Be better?
But what about this: You wake up in the morning, pop open your eyes, and the first thing you think is, “Oh great. Another day of nothing. But, I’m going to run a marathon in two months… I’m going to ride the Houston Critical Mass next month…. I’m going to volunteer with Donate Life this weekend…. I’m going to climb Enchanted Rock when I’m strong enough. I better get to work!”
Goals don’t have to be grand in nature, either. Mine started out as getting up and making my own breakfast, or putting up all my clothes myself. The point is that you make a goal, and when you reach it, you’ve accomplished something you can be proud of, and that moves you forward in your life and health. Start with breakfast, and move on to the 5K. It’s all based on what you can do now, and where you want to go.
Goals. It might sound kinda stupid at first, but I’m telling you it works. And yes, that bit about Enchanted Rock, that’s all me. I’ve tried a few times previously (even with oxygen in tow) and failed miserably. But, soon I will get to the top. And I will buy the cheesy overpriced shirt, and hat, and bumper sticker, and whatever else that little shop down by the parking lot sells. And you will hear me shout a victory cry from the top of the rock. Cause it’s going to be amazing people.