A Balancing Act

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by Kevin Schaefer |

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rest, free time

Kevin Embracing my inner alien

February was a pretty exhausting month for me. I kicked it off with a two-week stint of pneumonia and a weekend in the hospital, then I got straight back to work once I felt better. To top it all off, I ended it with a 24-hour stomach virus I caught from my dad. I then passed this virus on to my mom, sister, and brother-in-law. This consisted of a lot of throwing up and diarrhea — an appropriate conclusion to a rather brutal month.

Needless to say, March better be easier.

Fortunately, I’m feeling a lot better now than I was two days ago, but with all the viruses and illnesses still going around, I’ve realized that I can’t be too careful. I’ve already increased my Vest and Cough Assist Machine sessions from two 20-minute sessions to three a day since getting pneumonia, and I’m now trying to be more cautious about germs spreading. If this means canceling plans with friends here and there until this cold and flu season is over, then so be it. Right now, improving my overall health is my top priority.

These past few weeks have taken a lot out of me, and it’s made me realize that I need to pace myself a bit more. I tend to push myself with my work and my writing, especially now that my comics writing is off to a solid start. On that note, the CORPUS anthology I’ve written about in previous columns has been funded, and should be published later this year!

Nevertheless, I have to be careful not to push myself too hard. Between work, writing, chest PT, water therapy, hanging out with friends, and podcasting, I’m pretty worn out by the end of the week. Plus, because I have SMA, I exert more energy than the average person just to perform simple, everyday tasks. It’s important for me, and anyone for that matter, to take breaks.

As such, I’ve resolved to make Saturday my “shut-down” day. On Saturdays, I will sleep in, avoid emails, watch Netflix, read, and hang out with friends and family. No work, no planning, no wracking my brain about what I’m supposed to be doing.

Making Saturday my Sabbath is something I’ve loosely put into practice over the past few years, but now I’m going to be more intentional about it. Getting sick twice in the last month, while extremely irritating, was also a good wakeup call for me to take things easier. I love my job and my creative writing, and I think it’s crucial for SMA individuals to set goals and work just as hard as everyone else — but it’s also important to rest.

It’s all about a balancing act.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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