Life in general can be difficult. Each and every one of us has hurdles that we have to overcome at some point in our lives. It could be the stress of getting through school, being lonely, anxiety, depression, illness, or so many other things.
Since the beginning of 2016 I have been dealing with a now chronic illness. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with and its not going to get better. So how does a person with a chronic illness live their life? I cant speak for everyone but in this blog I will go into what life is like for me now dealing with my illness in my day to day life.
The Physical Aspect.
I am a mom of 2 wonderful and energetic children. I am also a wife and have a house to take care of. There have been times when my physical symptoms have gotten in the way.
In the past I have pushed through the pain so to speak. I worked a 40 hour a week job, took care of the kids, my husband, and the house. This only exacerbated my physical symptoms and I soon learned that this is not a sustainable way to live.
About seven months ago I took some time off work to get care from a specialist. It was amazing to me how much better I felt just not working. So then I began to wonder what would it be like if I actually listened to my body. So I started listening. When I was tired I rested. When I was in pain I made sure not to do activities that I know make it worse. And guess what I started to feel a little better.
After meeting with the specialist, I realized that I wasn’t going to get any better, only worse. But I had learned new skills to cope with my physical symptoms. I now know that I need to slow down and remember I cant do everything I use to. I started to look at alternative medicine, because taking a ton of painkillers and other medicines isn’t sustainable for me. In a sense my life has become simple, I do what is needed if I can and try not to fret about the rest.
The Mental Aspect.
When I was first told about my condition I was very hopeful and positive. Then, after an unfortunate surgical mishap in which I was left partially paralyzed,(read my full story here) I started to become less hopeful and positive. I remember wondering why I had to deal with it all, why had it happened to me. But it was just an accident it could have happened to anyone, it just happened to be me.
After getting out of the hospital I made a promise to myself that I would stay as positive as possible from then on. Let me tell you this is not easy. I wear a smile most days but that doesn’t mean i am always happy. When I worked in the hospital I always told my patients that having a positive attitude increased their chances of getting better. So now I had to practice what I preached.
I don’t like to be the center of attention so talking about my illness is not easy for me. I would rather tell people I am fine and just smile. At the same time it can feel good to talk about what you are going through. It can be a huge part of the healing process. So another thing I have learned is that sometimes its ok to open up and talk about how awful you feel, how sad/mad you are that you have to deal with it, etc.
There are a couple of tricks that I use to keep my attitude positive. I write in my positivity journal nightly, click here to read more about positivity journals. I talk openly with my husband getting any and all feeling out whether good or bad. Also I take time just for me like taking a bath, creating products, reading a book, enjoying a glass of wine, etc.
My Duties as a Mom and Wife.
I love my children and husband dearly! But as many moms know taking care of kids, a house, and a husband is a lot of work.
I have always prided myself on having a neat and clean house. Well now that my energy is not like it use to be and my body doesn’t work like it use to I have had to give myself some grace in the cleaning department. That’s not saying I don’t keep my house clean, cause I do it makes me anxious to have a messy house. But I don’t clean my entire house in one afternoon anymore. I take it slowly and try to tackle one aspect of the house a day on top of keeping up with the normal daily chores.
This summer was the first time I have ever been home with my kids. And first I am beyond grateful for all the help from family over the years of me working. And second wow my kids have a lot of energy!
At first I tried to keep up with them and do all the things they wanted to do. I started to get burnt out and cranky cause I was feeling like garbage again. So I took a step back and realized that just like other aspects of my life i could no longer do every little thing my kids wanted.
I found it is better for me to say no to a few activities throughout the day than to be so exhausted or in pain that I am out of commission for a whole day or more. Jasper and Evey adjusted quite well and we adapted. On bad days we would read books and play cards instead of water balloon fights and obstacle courses.
It Will be Okay.
Like I said at the beginning of this blog life can be hard for everyone, we all have our struggles. Mine is my illness and I have had to make many adjustments to my life because of it. Everyday is a new day and everyday I wake up and evaluate how I feel and gauge what I can do accordingly.
My life is so different than I thought it would be. Im in my 30s and have to deal with an illness that no one should have to deal with. But its ok. I still have a very good life full of love, family, friends, and joy. I will never let my illness take these away from me.