Chronic illness tip:
Remind yourself how far you’ve come!
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of just how far we’ve come! Especially when we’ve allowed our inner bitch to rant and rave at our so-called shortcomings for too long.
A year ago I was pumping countless pharmaceuticals into my body. Thinking that the array of nutraceutical’s was actually helping me counteract some of the side effects of these medicines. The thought of being without analgesics was a pipe dream. Something that could only happen with a cure to what ailed me. I couldn’t imagine the sheer magnitude of pain I would be in without my four hourly codeine, my massive dose of Pregabalin or the relief of naproxen. But look at where I am now. I have been medication free since 29th November 2016. This year so far, has flown by in a heartbeat. So I’ve never stopped to acknowledge the length of time I’ve been without the crutch of analgesics. It’s not easy. Don’t get me wrong. You inevitably take steps back, because at the end of the day, I have a chronic pain condition, multiple in fact. But I haven’t so much as taken a paracetamol. Not for any of my aches or neurological pains, nor for a crippling headache. I decided to feed my body instead. I made the decision to give my body her best chance of coping and with any luck one day, overcoming this, just by being mindful of the nutrients I give her. What I put in my mouth inevitably means the difference between living and existing, between coping and falling apart. I have to remind myself that, I have a lot of making up to do. The damage caused, the imbalances due to the concoctions of medicines I’ve been taking, need to be healed. I have more work to do than when this all began. I am backpedalling in a sense, but that’s ok.
I watched a program recently, featuring a woman with fibromyalgia, ME and Hypothyroidism. A doctor spent extensive time with her, essentially living with her for extended hours. To get a real sense of how she lives, how she’s coping if at all and how he could potentially help. She was unsurprisingly, on a multitude of medications, suffering debilitating fatigue and just fighting through everyday. Familiar? What surprised me was that this doctor’s advice, to help improve her quality of life, was to make drastic changes to her lifestyle. If you watched the program you’ll know what I’m talking about. But his argument was that mindfulness, a healthier diet (cutting out processed foods and refined sugars) and reducing her dependence on pharmaceuticals, would make a difference to her level of daily struggle.
I tell you what, never have I watched a program like this and smiled to myself. I haven’t had this support or suggestions from a medical professional involved in my care. The things I have done, result from countless hours of research, reading and refusing to accept the “take the pills and deal with it” mentality I’ve had from doctors. Honestly, my medical care has been complicated; it is for all of us. But what exacerbated this for me was transferring my care from the south of the country, to the north where I’m now residing. My GP here actually said to me that, I had to just come to terms with the fact that this was my life now. This was his response in 2016 when I went to talk to him about the increasing incidences of neuralgia, the debilitating exhaustion, the inability to leave the house for days on end, leading into weeks. The lack of sleep, the frustration, the side effects, the sheer inexplicable cocktail of symptoms that just made my life, hell. He told me I had to accept that’s how it was for me now, that accepting that would make it easier. That I just had to make the best of it. Well then. Luckily for me I’m a stubborn S.O.B. I won’t be told what I can and can’t do and I’m CERTAINLY not going to “settle” for an incomplete life. For an existence that doesn’t resemble living. So, to that doctor, I’m sorry for the disrespect, but FUCK YOU! I WON’T settle. I won’t stop fighting to be better, I won’t let you delude me into thinking that if your pharmaceutical solutions don’t solve my problems, that that’s the be all and end all of the matter. I WILL learn, I will investigate, read and experiment my way to better health, despite your tunnelled, out dated views on health care.
(It’s a good job I’m not a vlogger…a video of me speaking/yelling that rant would have seemed on fast forward!!)
I choose to remind myself – this battle, it’s a journey. There is no way to predict where this will lead me or you. Don’t look forward to the future thinking “Where will I end up”, there is no end. Just continued development and growth. Choose to whole-heartedly believe that no matter what trials you face today, you are stronger and wiser than you were yesterday, a week ago and years into your past. No matter how bleak it may seem, this is NOT your final destination. Life is not about an “end goal” or a “destination”. It is a rolling road that twists and turns and forks. Sometimes you will be winning, sometimes it will feel like you’re losing, but that’s ok. It’s just the balance of life. At the end of the day, the most control you have over…. well anything really, is how you choose to react to it.
Think of it this way; we are always changing shape, for years we may be a square, so we learn to put ourselves through the square hole and all seems hunky dory with the world. But then one day you wake up and you’re a triangle, yet you still try to fit yourself through that square hole. When that doctor said I had to accept my circumstances, to me, what it really means is, accepting change. Accept that a triangle can only fit through a triangular hole.
My body changed, I changed, so I have to reshape my life so I can fit in it. Yes it’s different, but different doesn’t have to mean hard or bad. I have accepted that I will, in my lifetime, continue to “change shape”, so I choose to roll with it, to make myself amenable and excited for the unknown that change can bring. Let yourself get excited, If not now, when? After all…
“You will never be as young as you are right now”
This journey will forge strength in you that you never thought possible. You are a goddamn Warrior!! Hold your head high, pop those pills, slap on that magnesium oil and shout out to the universe, “I got this. BRING IT!!!”