Do you have an uninvited guest in your life?
One who has stayed too long?
I have one who simply refuses to pack up and go home no matter what I do.
My unwelcome guest is Schleroderma, an autoimmune disease.
This post advises you to challenge chronic illness limitations
imposed on you.
Embrace change, realize your potential and start a killer-new career.
Here’s my story of being stalked by a killer and how I refused to submit to his demands that I lie back and wait for death to take me.
I dared to realize my potential by starting my own blog.
Mr. Chronic Illness sprung his attack in Spring.
The time when the air is perfumed by the pinks of roses, zinnias, petunias and begonias.
When my weary spirit soars involuntarily.
I was helpless and defenseless as he stalked me. Life was hectic – new mom busy, high school English teacher hectic – so preoccupied I didn’t notice the stalker waiting in the shadows to attack.
FATIGUE AND PAIN
He infiltrated my life furtively. Fatigue pounced and refused to go away no matter how much I rested. His BFF, pain, was my constant companion.
I ignored the silent signs of his attacks explaining them away as being unfit.
But he persisted, becoming more violent in his attacks. The pain intensified.
Standing for long periods, walking up stairs and carrying anything -even my new baby-exhausted me.
Panic at these symptoms, made me go to my doctor.
A routine blood test diagnosed a chronic illness called MIXED CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISEASE, an autoimmune condition in the same family as Lupus.
My body was being invaded by my very own immune system.
Over time, MCTD progressed to Schleroderma.
Of all the people in the whole wide world, it had to be me …….. Why?
I was put on a cocktail of drugs to suppress my immune system. It was like being a human equation. Every drug had an equal and opposite reaction.
- A dreaded steroid strengthened me but ballooned my face.
- Another power booster of a drug blackened the skin on my back like chargrilled meat.
- Singed legs were the unwanted effect of still another drug.
- Stiff joints meant daily pills to reduce inflammation in the joints.
- Weight loss also entered the equation.
My life was bulldozed almost to the ground leaving me as weak and helpless as a newborn.
Something radical had to be done to salvage my life.
My physician informed me there was only one option to rescue me back from the abyss I was facing –
a 5 -day infusion to be administered in the I.C.U.
By then, I was desperate enough to try anything to start living a normal life.
So I was admitted to the ICU for the infusion. But something went horribly wrong. I had an allergic
reaction to the medication and lapsed into a coma.
In total, I spent 5 weeks in hospital recovering from the rescue plan that failed.
Well, I got the vacation I had yearned for except being stuck in a hospital bed in the ICU was not exactly the sunny skies and beautiful beaches of Mauritius.
A chronic disease robs you of more than your good health. It steals your courage and:
- makes you live daily with the fear of death
- steals your confidence about living life to the full
- erodes your enthusiasm to try new things
- cheats you of your adventurous spirit
- forces you to accept the known and the familiar
So, those of us who are hand-picked to live with a chronic illness, just put one foot in front of the other to survive from one pain- riddled day to the next.
But, to live this way means that YOU entertain the illness as YOUR cruel boss wielding the whip daily.
Why not find a way to defeat it?
In every other way, you possibly can.
You are more than your body and the disease.
Rescue yourself from this defeatist victim mode.
Carve a new path for yourself.
This is what I chose to do. No more just existing.
So, I quit my job to reclaim my life.
STARTING A BLOG
I needed a challenge, to be actively engaged and motivated in spite of being sick.
Prowling Google, I discovered BLOGGING. Totally foreign to me. But so invigorating.
Days zoomed past as I read and reread blogs about a variety of topics that informed, educated inspired,
and entertained me.
Then, I had my lightbulb moment.
I wanted to be part of this exclusive blogging club.
I decided to start my own blog.
My blog has filled me with a sense of purpose.
Yes, the illness is there, part and parcel of my life.
But the physical challenges of living with illness daily are more bearable now that I have a vision for my life.
Those of us who live with chronic illnesses so rarely talk about them. We hide as if we have a dirty little secret.
But talking about our lives with daily pain can help us move mountains. We can support, encourage and offer help.
It can help us to realize that our illnesses do not define us. We are more than that. Much more.
It took a near-death experience to make me take stock of my life and embrace change.
I urge you to risk it.Take your chronic illness into the ring, knock it out Muhammed Ali - style and live your life to the full. Click To Tweet
Take a cue from this famous poem:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Have you experienced something similar? Were you forced to make a snap decision that changed your life?
Share your story in the comments below.