Monday, August 22, 2011

Great Article About Accepting Your Chronic Illness

Its is very, very difficult to accept a chronic illness diagnosis. I know I went to about a dozen doctors, looking for a different diagnosis, something easier than fibromyalgia, something more known. Or a lab mistake, or a simple diagnosis like the flu. Anything, anything but the awful fate of dealing the rest of my life with the daily struggles of fibromylagia. But then I read 2 books, and I know I have mentioned them several, several times before, but they really did mark the turning point in my life with fibro. (FibroWhyalgia, by Sue Ingebretson, and How To Be Sick, by Toni Bernhard) They helped me get to the point of acceptance, which when you read this article you will see is so important in living with a chronic illness.

You have to read this article, by Lana Barhum, from the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week website:

What Does it Mean to Accept Your Chronic Illness Diagnosis

"With chronic illness, the sooner you accept your diagnosis, the sooner you can work on being healthy."

A few months after my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and the blurry reality of what was my life started to become clearer.
I had spent ten years trying to find answers and one day I had them. What I realized at that point was that I had the power to heal because I had already started to find out how by searching for and finding answers."

"I sought support from others who were living with the disease and I knew that if I wanted to get better, I had to accept that a handful of pills weren’t enough."

"I also looked at my life as lesson after lesson of patience, strength and survival."

"Of course, it wasn’t easy to get to that point because living with an invisible condition (or two or three or more) isn’t that simple."

"You lose a lot of friends and there are a lot of people who don’t understand but what the illness doesn’t control is how we respond, how we fight back and how we go on the defense against the war waging inside our bodies."

"Chronic illness is kind of like life with its all ups and downs but living with an invisible chronic disease is like life multiplied and so very complicated. It is never ending roller coaster of pain and emotions."

"There is also about a lack of understanding amongst your family, your friends, your coworkers, and even complete strangers. It is about living life without knowing what tomorrow will bring and it is an emotional battle on a daily basis." 

"There will be days where your pain and fatigue are under control. There will be days when you feel productive and that you are in control of your life and your body again. It will not feel like a death sentence forever. On the other hand, there will be days that it will feel like the disease is in control when you are in pain, you are tired and you can’t focus or get anything done. The disease doesn’t get easier but getting through those really bad days does get easier."

"As a long time sufferer, I have learned that there can be more good days by making good choices. You have to do all the right things like eating right, taking your medications, being active on good days, and resting on bad ones. It is a learning process like anything else in your life and the setbacks–they are part of life too. You can’t control the setbacks regardless of how well you plan and a flare-up can come on at the worst possible time.
All you can do is wait to feel better and you can’t always predict how many good days you will have so try not to overwork yourself because you don’t know when your next good day will be."

"Understand and remind yourself that a chronic illness is unpredictable. There is not much that you can do except to realize you have to adjust and adapt to the moments that the disease brings havoc to your life."

"The best thing you can do for yourself is to accept that you have to be flexible to live successfully with your chronic invisible disease. The disease might be your new reality but learning to be flexible means that you accept chronic illness in your life not that you give up. Your life will never go back to “before your diagnosis,” but it can get close to it if you open your mind to what you need to do to get to that point where you can accept diagnosis in a way that means you don’t give up."

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