Celebrate Each Success

I have been achieving some small successes over the past few weeks. My doctors and I have been experimenting with a new medicine which has been helping damp down my vertigo. The results are astonishing. When I have a steady stream of medicine, as in when I wake up in the morning, I don’t stagger much, and I see without the world going up and down. I can put dishes in the dishwasher without getting dizzy. At the gym, I can stand on one leg for a few seconds without losing my balance. Woo!

As you move through your change, as you adapt, you need to acknowledge each success, no matter how small it is. When my medicine first started to make a difference, it was the difference between being able to walk across a room without staggering. Now it’s balancing on one leg. Small successes count. Even if you only have one small success for one day or for part of a day, they count. Because if you can do it once, you can figure out how to do it again.

Now, make sure you temper your expectations. Remember practice and integration? It’s not a straight shot up to New Status Quo. You’ve got ups and downs. Expect ups and downs as you move through your change. I have not hit the correct dose of medicine. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay on this medicine for the long term. I sure hope so. So make sure you acknowledge and savor and even celebrate each success, small as it may be, as you achieve it. You’ve earned it.

A side note: the original title for this post was “acknowledge each success.” But I decided that was too wimpy. Celebrating each success is better. Even if you do the happy dance to yourself, celebrating is the right idea. No one else has to know you are celebrating. Every time you have a small success, it’s a victory. Each victory calls for a celebration. The size of your celebration depends on your context. I’m not going to bring out the champagne when I’ve walked around a buffet line without my cane. But I will do a mental happy dance and beam a little brighter.

You can smile to yourself. No one else has to know why. It’s ok to look happy. Just call me a smiling fool :-) I’m here celebrating a small success.

A postscript: I drafted this note on March 25. It’s now April 4, and I’ve become accustomed to the medicine. It’s not working as well as it did a couple of weeks ago. I’m staggering much more. I’m seeing much more up and down. My oscillopsia is much worse on the same dosage as it was a couple of weeks ago. It’s not as bad as it was before I started on the medicine, but I am not as good as it was two weeks ago. On the other hand, I’m back from overseas and I have approval to increase my dosage tonight. Learning that the medicine has a fall-off effect is useful, too.

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