As I hope you can tell from the posts in this blog, I try to approach most things in life with a sense of humour and a sense of hope. These are especially important when you live with a chronic illness—or two or three– as I do.
I hesitate to call them “illnesses.” Sometimes I may be not all that well, but I’m not really sick–at least not all that often. I may be fatigued or have some discomfort, but I don’t think of that as being sick. I am however constantly trying to calm waging wars in my body. For the past couple of weeks, it’s been my stomach fighting with the rest of the internal organs. The conversation goes something like this:
Stomach: “I’m hungry. I need to eat something.”
Internal Organs: “Don’t you dare eat anything else until we figure out how to deal with what you’ve already eaten.” [I’ll spare you the details of the conversation, as it gets kind of gross.]
“Water with lemon for you, missy—maybe some soup.”
Stomach: “You’ve got to be kidding! I have to eat.”
Organs: “Well, ok. But take it easy. Nothing greasy, fried, or raw. Only gluten-free and dairy-free.”
[I’m guessing the organs really didn’t like the really good french fries I ate last Thursday or the delicious salads I ate on Sunday as much as I did.]
This conversation or something pretty close to it happens frequently. Then there is the one that happens between my muscles and my brain.
Brain: “I need my body to get more aerobic exercise.”
Muscles: “No, you don’t. The strength and stretching exercises are better for your fibromyalgia and the aerobic stuff just exhausts you too much—and then you don’t want to do the other exercises that are better for us.”
Brain: “Well, I can at least walk, even if I can’t do the cardio classes.”
Muscles: Yes, that would be good. Don’t forget about the stretching though.”
So, what do I do?
I try to eat a balanced, gluten-free, dairy-free diet that includes a good balance of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates [with not too many grains or raw foods] and I stick to my strength and stretching exercises sneaking in a little bit of “cardio” when I can.
I also try to remember that I am living my life with a sense of humour and a sense of hope to make things better. It really is the only way to live, isn’t it? I also remind myself that there are plenty of people dealing with a lot more than I have to, and I admire their strength and tenacity.
The conversations and wars may get interesting over the next six months as I may be participating in a research study looking into some potential treatments for fibromyalgia. If I am chosen, I’ll be writing about it. So stay tuned.
What are your coping strategies if you’re living with a chronic illness? I’d love to hear what you do to keep yourself healthy and how you calm the wars raging in your body.