Would I if I Could?

If I could change my life, would I?
If I could change my life, would I?

I recently had a reader and guest writer bring up something all of us who live with invisible illness or disability have thought about at least once. If you could wave a magic wand and “make yourself healthy”, would you?

Well gee, evidently I’m no fun. I’m a realist. So my immediate response and argument was, “but we CANNOT change those things about ourselves so why discuss that magic wand?” She immediately texted back:


Yeah. I don’t play make-believe very well. Her point was… that WASN’T the point. It doesn’t matter if you CAN, the question is WOULD you.

First Instinctual response

My first response would have to be:

Heck yeah!

About two months ago I was having a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day“. I woke up (thanks to my canine alarm clock) and swung my feet out of bed too fast causing me to crash into the dog bed and water bowl next to my bed. Climbing down the 16 stairs to the kitchen area, I missed the last 4 steps, re-injuring my bad ankle. I ran my coffee maker without coffee grounds. I slipped on the kitchen rug and slid like a ninja into the dining room and cracked my head on the table. When my husband came downstairs he found me sitting on the floor wailing. I sobbed and blubbered all the things that had happened in the 30 short minutes I had been awake. He leaned down and patted my shoulder and said, “Awww honey. Sometimes it sucks to be you“.

I cracked up. It was exactly what I needed. Sometimes? Sometimes it just sucks to be me. But… I am me and I deal with that. Wouldn’t it be great if I didn’t have to live with a balance disorder though? Wouldn’t it be great if I could hear with “normal ears”?

Well duh. Of course it would. I’ve had folks tell me before, “Denise, you are always so UP and optimistic. You do not ever seem to let this STUFF get you down“. Well gee… you aren’t hanging out with me enough then. I try to set people straight quickly. It isn’t always wonderful. I don’t always smile. I’m not able to pick myself up by my bootstraps all the time. Sometimes I wail on the dining room floor thinking how much it sucks to be me!

But You Can’t Stay There

So I have good days and bad days. Just like you.

I am quite capable of “counting my blessings”, finding the “silver lining” and make darn good lemonade from those “lemons”. That doesn’t mean I don’t really wish things were different sometimes. I’d be lying if I said I love being me all the time.

But magic wands do not exist. This is my life. I know more about Meniere’s disease and late-deafened life than the doctors who diagnosed me. I know more about learning how to fall and how to move than my buddies at vestibular rehab. I’ve learned to cope.

Just like many of YOU have. You make the best of it. There are few alternatives.

We will have “bad days“. Don’t be afraid to feel it. Belly-ache about it. Scream at God. Throw something (not at someone – jus’ sayin’). Cry. Cuss.

But you can’t stay there. A friend of mine lives with a chronic pain and inflammation condition. I asked her how she “keeps on keeping on” when she’s had a bad day. She said, “You have to. You get up and breathe in and out. You wipe your tears. You suck it up. But then, go confide in a friend. Write. Dance. Take a walk with your camera. Hug your dog. You can’t stay there“. (My friend is very wise, yes?)

My friends, you are going to have days where you discover you are stronger than you think you are. But… you are also going to have days you find you aren’t as strong as you’d hoped. That is part of acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to LIKE it. By accepting we then learn to cope. We become flexible. We become teachers (and reach out to others). How you cope may not be how someone else copes. The trick is TO COPE.

Would I change the physical stuff about me if I could?

***WaVeS mAgIc WaNd***

But that would mean that I wouldn’t have met many of you. My friends and relationships would all be different.

I wouldn’t have learned to advocate and help others.

I wouldn’t have found a “place” at Fidos For Freedom.

I wouldn’t have pursued psychology and disabilities.

I wouldn’t have learned to empathize and support others who live with invisible illness and disability.

I would not have learned how capable I am.

I wouldn’t have learned who I really am.

So nope. I wouldn’t waste that fairy dust on changing me. I may not always like my life, but I love living. I keep my focus on the verb, not the noun.

So if I had a magic wand? Well heck, I’d use it for something useful! Like being able to consume as much chocolate as you want without the scale showing any change! Um yeah. IN A FREAKING HEARTBEAT! 🙂

Denise Portis

© 2014 Personal Hearing Loss Journal


Look at me
You may think you see
Who I really am
But you’ll never know me
Every day
It’s as if I play a part
Now I see
If I wear a mask
I can fool the world
But I cannot fool my heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

I am now
In a world where I
Have to hide my heart
And what I believe in
But somehow
I will show the world
What’s inside my heart
And be loved for who I am

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection
Someone I don’t know?
Must I pretend that I’m
Someone else for all time?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

There’s a heart that must be
Free to fly
That burns with a need to know
The reason why

Why must we all conceal
What we think, how we feel?
Must there be a secret me
I’m forced to hide?
I won’t pretend that I’m
Someone else for all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?


One thought on “Would I if I Could?

  1. Very good points!
    Its often times the difficulties we face that make us who we are and impact greatly the friendships we have. 🙂
    I am just starting to put the pieces together with symptoms I have had for years…and I am going to the audiologist today! Would you consider reading my list of things I want the doctor to know and see if there are any other points you can think of? http://atlantamomofthree.net/2014/06/03/hearing-loss-before-40-part-two-the-list/
    I would really appreciate it! 😀

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