Tag: Chronic Illness

Do you accept yourself?

Have you ever asked yourself if you have accepted your life with a chronic illness? I hadn’t until a few weeks ago. I spent a lot of my time dealing with things that occur in my life and trying to overcome the trials and tribulations of having a chronic illness. I thought because I am going through the motions that I had accepted my chronic illness. I was kind of shocked when I thought about it. I have been sick all my life and I have yet to accept my chronic illness. If I think about the surgery I had in March 2018, my doctor stated all the problems that he was repairing because of my illness but I still didn’t accept it. I know I have a chronic illness but I think that if you don’t fully accept your chronic illness, it may become difficult to heal some of the emotional hardships caused by your chronic illness. Although the physical bumps and bruises healed, the emotional ones have not. You must also heal the mind and the soul, not just the body. I have been only working on accepting myself and my chronic illness for a short time but I have seen the benefits of self-acceptance. I recommend you try to work on your self-acceptance and see what it does for you. I will leave you with this quote “The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” ― Mark Twain

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2019 has began. Now what?

The start of the year can be a stressful time. I woke up yesterday and today feeling the pressure to start things. The people around me also seemed a bit more rushed than in the days prior. This created a feeling of tension for me which I am trying to manage better this year.  I had decided prior to the end of the year that I would try something new.  I am going to try to schedule things I need to do weekly. I know this might seem like no big deal but for me, it is! I was never able to stick to a schedule in my life so I hope that this year will be different. I am going to not think about the new restrictions that could occur but the freedom and the joy of accomplishment I will feel when things are complete.  I struggle with restrictions because I always felt my CMT created a lot of aspects of my life that were restricted. However, this past year, I learned that schedules and restrictions can create even more time. This sounded crazy to me too when I first heard it.  I am proud to say that it is true for me.  I started this toward the end of 2018 so I have a bit of rhythm going into 2019.  I would recommend you try it out. If it doesn’t work you can always go back to what works for you. I wish you all the best for the rest of the new year.  I will leave you with this quote “You gotta make it a priority to make your priorities a priority.” ― Richie Norton

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5 lessons I learned this year – 2018 Edition

This year has been another life-changing one for me. I said that last year but it’s true this year as well. As I reflect on the events of this year I am hopeful that next year will bring more peace, joy, and happiness. I learned a lot about myself and others this year. Some good things and some bad but all of the moments had value. I am going to reflect on 5 lessons.

  1. Be kind to yourself and others. This is something I strive for on a daily basis. I believe that the universe is filled with energy and if you would like to get good energy and vibes from the world you must put the same energy out into the world. I have seen how this has greatly impacted my life for the better. I know with a chronic illness some days are tough but I encourage you to try this in the new year and I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
  2. Try new things. I tried a lot of new things and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. This was good for me. I encourage you to try new things this year and you might be surprised how many of the new things you love that may also make your life much easier.
  3. Find the right fit for you and nobody else. I notice that what works for me may not work for others. You are probably thinking, Duh? Am I right? I look for places that give me good vibes so I encourage you to do the same. If you have found your groove in the world in all the aspects of your life, I applaud you for that. If you are like me and have not figured that out yet I recommend that you keep searching for the things that feel right to you.
  4. Listen to your body. I said this last year but I think this needs to be mentioned again. I have noticed that when I spent less time thinking about what is good for my body and more time trusting that my body knows what it needs I have better days. I like to work on the basics of a happy life such as good sleep, diet and most importantly a healthy environment. This will give you a safe space so your physical, mental and emotional health can thrive.
  5. Worry less about the things you cannot control. This was very hard for me. I am a worrier and very opinionated. I would spend a lot more time thinking about solving other peoples problems more than my own. This created more problems than solutions. If I spend more time solving some of my problems, I feel better physically and mentally about the situation. Take the time to take of your needs more this year.

I am hopeful that next year will bring new experiences and new lessons that will help me move forward. I hope to share those ne experiences with you. Best wishes and Happy New Year! I will leave you with this quote “Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” ― Brad Paisley

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The importance of mental toughness when you have a chronic illness

Physical toughness has always been something I felt was important.  With my chronic illness, there are a lot of bumps and bruises that I endure on a daily basis. Today I would like to discuss the importance of mental toughness when battling the daily struggles of a chronic illness.  The daily stresses on top of the stresses caused by our health with a dash of the holiday season can make a typical tough day into a very stressful or even an overwhelming day.  On days like these, it is hard to make the people around you understand what you are going through.  In the past, I have called my daily struggle with chronic illness the sickness slide. My day is a constant struggle of trying to reach the top of the slide only to slide back down to different levels. This creates a tedious and sometimes repetitive pattern to try to recreate some of the successes I had in the past. Whether that success is less pain or more energy, I am always hopeful that a good day might be right around the corner as long as I have the mental toughness to keep going. However, as many of you may have experienced, chronic illness can change day by day or even hour by hour depending on your illness. Also, most people do not realize that a lot of people with chronic illnesses may have multiple illnesses. I personally have Charcot Marie Tooth, Scoliosis, IBS and Eczema, In addition, I also I have other ailments from surgeries such as hip tendinosis and localized muscle weakness and repetitive motion injuries like a strained bicep. Lastly, there could be side effects from medications, allergies and/or environmental changes like the changing of the seasons that can all affect how I feel.  Most people notice my CMT because it is the most pronounced and visible. Also, all the conditions I mentioned above are happening concurrently so I cannot just deal with them individually.  I usually address the ones that are bothering me the most for that day.  So, as we are nearing the end of the year, I hope that you and everyone around you know what kind of mental toughness it takes for you just to make it through the day.  I understand we do not do this by ourselves, some of us have support systems. I am personally very grateful for my support system.  The earnest is on us to create, maintain and build our mental toughness to hopefully improve our daily lives living with a chronic illness. I will leave you with this quote  “You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.” – Robert Anthony, Positively Positive 

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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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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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