I am not going to discuss Roy Rogers’ horse here.

Triggers are things that can set off a day or a week or more of shit health.  That seems obvious enough. A trigger sets off a flare.  Knowing what your triggers are can save you from having a flare.  Well, that seems pretty simple.  It isn’t.

How in the fuck are you supposed to know that staying out past 8:00 on a Saturday night having fun with your family is too much?  You just don’t know.

Some things are obvious.  Sleep is a must.  Hydration is a biggee.  Food is also important.

But lately I have been wondering about the triggers that start us down the path of disease itself.  I mean, what if certain stressors had not appeared in my life?  Would I have the chronic illnesses I have today?  I can identify pretty clearly the times in my life when my health has taken a bit nosedive.  Each of those times had been linked to a period of incredible emotional stress.

For me, the mind/body connection is very clear.  But, that doesn’t mean I have any sort of handle on it at all.  I don’t.  In fact, I have absolutely no control over it.

That is so infuriating that I think it almost makes it worse.

When I was 29, we moved across the country, my father died, I got pregnant and I became an ordained pastor of a difficult parish.  My husband had a job with a huge commute.  Our lives were very stressful and we lived in a parsonage that was from the 1880s and filled with mold.

I had the baby and then got very sick.  I had infection after infection.  I sometimes wonder if that was the trigger for my   CVID.  It is almost like it lay dormant before that.  I mean, I had a lot of illness but after that period, it went nuts.

A similar scenario happened when I was diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease.  I was in my early forties and on IVIG.  I was teaching college part time and commuting a long way.  I had two kids in school and my mother was dying of cancer 90 miles away.  I was driving to see her as often as possible and we were caring for my mother in law, who was also ill, closer to home.  My husband’s work schedule was inflexible and we were simply overstretched.

I fell apart as soon as mom died.

My body could not sustain the pace.

Is my body weaker than it ‘should’ be?  Does it do any good to be angry about it?

Now that I am no longer working and both my mother and mother in law have passed away is life easier?  I don’t know.  It is lonelier.

I am learning to live a day at a time.  I am writing.  That is the one thing I know how to do.

I am going to find my way and fight this good fight one battle at a time.  I hope to learn as I go and maybe show the way to others as they fight.  There are but two choices here: fight or give up.  Giving up is not an option.

There is too much at stake.  I tried being stoned and it has its attractions but I have too many people and creatures depending on me.  I have to keep moving.

Come along with me for the ride.  Maybe we can learn to laugh as we fall on our asses together and slowly get back up and move on.