Morning Fog

Somedays I wake up to what I describe as a morning fog. This fog is debilitating with speech, cognitive and motor skills that subpar at best. In addition, I have a higher amount of physical pain than I have on “normal” days. I try to be a fairly positive person about my disease but on those days, it is difficult to find the strength to do much of anything. It feels like my mind and body are in complete chaos and I have not yet found a way to recenter myself.  I also feel the emotional fears that come along with my disease. These days are little indicators that my disease may be getting worse rather than staying the same as I would hope. I struggle with the thoughts in my mind making the morning fog even foggier than before. This is a vicious circle for a person with my disease creating an endless loop of mental pollution and physical pain that becoming toxic to my being. Now, I am not saying that this will not pass but in that moment it is all I can think about because as much as I try to ignore the fact that I am really sick I promise you my mind, body, and soul remind me that I am not well. I write this post to hopefully strike a cord that may help you better understand what it is like for someone that has a chronic illness in hopes that it will help you help yourself or others that struggle to just get through the day. I will leave you with this quote “To find truth, one must traverse a dense fog” ― David Dweck

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The Mysteries of Chronic Illness

I had a tough week so far. I have had a brain fog, fatigue, body aches, and pain in multiple joints all week. I always wonder what is causing this sickness slide to happen. I find myself struggling to do things that I can normally do. I try to keep myself on a schedule in order to track if any variants affect my well being. However, the interesting thing about having a chronic illness is that I could do the same thing every day and end up with a completely different result.  This is extremely frustrating to me.  I believe with a chronic illness a good day is feeling the same based on your individual baseline and a great day is when you feel better than your baseline. Lately, I have been feeling like I am going backward and this is a very scary thought. My disease is degenerative and when I have a bad day I can’t help to wonder if this is my new normal. I am trying to be more positive today. I am trying to think of ways to ease some of the daily problems that occur with Charcot Marie Tooth and Scoliosis but the best medicine has been a positive outlook on life and the day. I find that even though it is hard some days to find the beauty in the little things in life, it makes the big things more palatable. I will leave you with this quote ” We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” ― Alphonse KarrA Tour Round My Garden

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The Victory in Defeat

In my life, I have seen more setbacks than successes but within the setbacks, there is a bit room created for improvement. We have all struggled to find our way in this tough world but I think having a chronic illness at a young age gave me the grit I needed to push through. Failing happens, losing happens even if you think you did everything right you may still lose. This is the risk we take with any endeavor we embark on. However, in the defeat, the opportunity to learn from your mistakes can be found. I know it seems a bit cliche but some cliches are cliches because they are true. Over the last few months, I have found that in major defeat there is a ripple effect that occurs that can be felt throughout your entire personal ecosystem. I have felt the ripple and it was difficult and continues to be but I found a victory. This victory is clarity, not like an ah-ha moment but more like I am sure that this is where I need to be at this point in my life. This renewed sense of purpose has created a new path for me to follow going forward.  I have always struggled with contentment which has not changed but what makes me content has and will forever be altered. I will take my victory in defeat and take this lesson to the next stage of my life with hopes that this lesson can help continue to guide me to greater peace and happiness. I will leave you with this quote “Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.” ― Eckhart Tolle

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The Misconception of Powering Through

I have been sick my entire life. Since I could remember I have heard people say you can do it just power through it. Now, I am a big believer in persistence but when it comes to certain areas of your life such as your health and well being this may not be the best course of action. As a person with a chronic illness, I have been told over and over that I am lazy, unmotived and pretty much a worthless human being. Unfortunately, I wish I was paraphrasing that last part but I am not. I was misdiagnosed when I was younger which gave everyone the impression that I was just not trying hard enough to get better but I was. I had scoliosis as part of my CMT and since I was overweight doctors told me that it was because I was overweight. I had so much stress as a kid because I was overweight but I found out that had nothing to do with it. Some types of CMT including mine cause scoliosis as well. I spent my life powering through and getting worse until one day I could not deny that something was very wrong and I got rediagnosed with a completely different disease.  Medical advances have allowed my diagnosis to be seen clearer than before. It was hard not understanding what was going on with me and it would have helped me immensely to know what disease I really had. I know that dwelling on the past does not help anyone especially me. I want to forward and to do so I learned that consistency at a level that is right for you is more important than powering through. I think that I have a lot to learn but I know a win for me is to keep trying and not powering through on something that will surely do harm to my well being. I will leave you with this quote “When you run your own race, don’t worry about the next person’s pace; mind yours, after all this is your own race not theirs.”
― Gift Gugu Mona

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Being Comfortable With My Disabilities and Decisions

Denial is a powerful thing. I was in denial for almost 25 years that I was very sick. I made choices from a place of denial. My frustration came from that same place. The thought of me not being about to fix myself made me feel out of control. I tried for years to fix myself and when I could not I felt worse than before.  I recently made a big change in my life and after I made the decision and all aspects of it had been finalized I began to tell everyone in my life about what I decided. I was nervous because for me this was a life changing and difficult decision but when I told everyone they were relieved. I was surprised to find out that everyone was happy for me and felt I had made the right choice and wished I would have made it earlier in my life. I did not know that they felt the stress that I felt. After a few weeks of coming to terms with all that has happened over the last few months, I realized that being comfortable with yourself is a powerful thing and It’s effects may reach further than you could imagine. I am looking forward to being comfortable with myself from today on and I learned the best gift I can give to myself and everyone else is to be my true self and do what is best for me. I will leave you with this quote “The moment will arrive when you are comfortable with who you are, and what you are– bald or old or fat or poor, successful or struggling- when you don’t feel the need to apologize for anything or to deny anything. To be comfortable in your own skin is the beginning of strength.” ― Charles B. Handy

Blindsided By Bad Days

When a storm is coming you can always tell it is on its way but in my case, I can’t.  My disease does not let me know whether the next day will be good or bad, there is no foreshadowing, no clouds rolling in so there is almost no way to tell what I may feel like tomorrow. Now, I understand this is the case with most people but your baseline may be higher so when you are not 100% you are still able to function pretty well. I would be content with a bad day or two but I end up having a bad week or weeks depending on how severe the bout might be.  During these times I am bed/couch ridden with barely enough energy to sit up. I would say it is similar to very bad flu which keeps you in bed for days until it passes.  I have tried lots of ways to predict when these bouts occur but the only thing I know for sure is that I will get sicker and I don’t know when or for how long but I will be sicker. It probably seems unusual to people without a disability to understand that I am truly blindsided by my bad days and have no control over this aspect of my life. I am not sick because external factors, I did not push myself too hard or have a rough week because every day I am pushing through and every week is rough. I have a disease that as a whole is difficult to manage with days of not as bad as yesterday mixed in.  I know, it could be much worse so I am not complaining about what I have but I just wanted to provide a little insight into why maybe I or someone you know may have an unusual pattern that even they cannot predict. I will leave you with this quote “When we go through unpredictable waters we are always in advantage, because many people cannot swim” ― Jan Jansen Easy Branches

Carry-over Fatigue

Recently, I started to notice that daily life activities have been draining me of energy at a higher rate than my normal baseline. So, over the last few weeks, I have been observing my daily activities more closely and what I discovered is that depending on the way your particular disease responds to fatigue there seems to be a bit of carry-over. Carry-over fatigue is caused by the previous day or days activities that cause fatigue in the present. I noticed that once fatigue has occurred, the fatigue must be addressed if not that the fatigue will carry-over until exhaustion and as we all know once that level is reached recovery becomes exponential longer. So, what can we do about this?  Well, the solution is not that simple. This takes time to learn what causes you to reach fatigue and to understand when you may need to rest. I noticed for me that I always have an indicator that I am tired whether it is an unusual pain, my Charcot Marie Tooth symptoms worsen but most likely there is some sign that your body is giving you that you need to take a break. I have tried this myself, this has helped me to not have as much carry-over fatigue on a daily basis. Chronic illnesses do not have a magic fix but if we can move a step closer to feeling better then we have accomplished something great for that day. I will leave you with this quote “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John LubbockThe Use Of Life

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Invisible Anxiety

As a person with chronic health issues, I find myself with invisible anxiety. This anxiety is not seen by others but it is felt by me. I only notice it after I become very anxious. This invisible anxiety would present itself as frustration. I don’t feel that frustration is the best way to deal with this so I am trying to find a way to manage my anxiety in different ways. One of the reasons I feel that this invisible anxiety exists is because as a person with a disability I always feel less than. I try to push myself to be something I am not and may never be. As a consequence of pushing oneself, I become exhausted and this is when my anxiety begins. If I address it at that time, I may be able to calm myself down but if there is a life event that does not allow for a period of rest this anxiety begins to carry over. As this anxiety carries over it will reach a tipping point which in my case means complete exhaustion and rest for an extended period of time. The reason I feel that it is invisible anxiety is that during these days people usually do not see or hear from me. So it seems like I am always doing ok but in reality, that is the one good day I had that week. I do not have a disability that can be masked but I continue to try to make the best of a difficult situation. I have learned that the best way to conquer this anxiety is to make it visible maybe not to everyone but at least to yourself. Once that is done and you brought the anxiety from the darkest to the light, you can begin to deal with your anxiety in real time instead of waiting until you have no choice but to deal with your anxiety.  I will leave you with this quote “Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” ― Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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Dating With A Disability

I have seen a lot of posts over the years about trials and tribulations of dating with a disability.  This has always been an issue for me as well. I never felt like I was worthy of someone’s affection. I always felt like I needed to overcompensate for my disabilities with intelligence and/or humor because I felt that no one would accept me with all of my problems. I tried this method for years and even had some success but as my disease progressed it became harder to hide. I made a lot of mistakes but I learned from them. One constant that I noticed was that most of the people I dated never mentioned or seemed to feel like I was less than anyone else. I finally came to the conclusion that I was causing the problems in my relationships because I did not allow myself to be my true self. I always thought that when they find out how sick I am they will leave me so I might as well start to push them away now. This inability to be who I was gave me daily anxiety, stress, and frustration that had a negative effect on my relationship. In the end, I succeeded in pushing that person away with no hope of reconciliation. I regret that now not because I am not happy with my life but I never wanted to make someone feel less than the amazing person they are. I realized that accepting yourself and having the confidence to be your true self is the first step in finding another person to be in a relationship with. So for people with chronic illnesses like me, embracing our true selves as the special and amazing human beings that we are is the most attractive quality we can have and it does not require anything more than what we are at this very moment. Eventually, you will find the right person for you and they will love you for the person you truly are. I know this is possible because that’s what happen to me and I have never been more myself and happier than I am right now. I will leave you with this quote “ Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”– Malcolm S. Forbes

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The High Road is Never Flooded With Regret

Over the last week, I have had a few circumstances that required me or a loved one to be a better person. What happens when a bad thing happens to someone that hurt or damaged your life or well being without any concern for your feelings. Are you suppose to treat them better than they would treat you? I say yes! I think you have to be true to yourself if that means treating someone better than they would or have treated you than so be it. You are a good person and as long as you are not letting that person take advantage of you or harm you in some way, being a better human being than them is more about you than them. So, don’t feel bad about being a good person to the people that have wronged you. The high road is never flooded with regret. I will leave you with this quote “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ― Desmond Tutu