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 my chronic condition, Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease.
This post advises you to become a warrior. To challenge the limitations your sickness has imposed on you.
One way to defy the monster eating away at you is to refuse to be its victim. Embrace change, realize your potential and start a killer-new career.
Here’s my story of being stalked by a killer chronic condition and how I refused to submit to his demands that I lie back and wait for death to take me.
I dared to explore a new avenue by starting my own blog.
THE START OF MY CHRONIC ILLNESS
Mr Chronic Disease 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 defenceless 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.
CHRONIC ILLNESS SIGNS
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.
DIAGNOSIS, CHRONIC DISEASE – MCTD
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 Scleroderma.
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.
The unwanted effect of still another drug was singed legs. Stiff joints meant daily pills to reduce inflammation. Weight loss also entered the equation.
My life was bulldozed almost to the ground leaving me as weak and helpless as a newborn.
I had to do something radical to salvage my life.
My physician informed me there was only one option to rescue me 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 the 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.
HOW TO SCORE A WIN IN THE LOSING BATTLE WITH YOUR SICKNESS
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
Nicole, of thisisallgoingon.com who also lives with chronic illness states:
I am NOT my condition – I am NOT my PAIN.
So 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.
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 a chronic 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 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.
Do you have a chronic illness? What has been your experience? I would love to hear about your life with a chronic illness.
Share your story in the comments below.
Please take a moment to share this post with your social media followers because I need your help to motivate others to kick their chronic illnesses out the door any way they can.