What You Learn when Managing Chronic Illness

My daughter has had to battle many health challenges most of her life. I’ve had my own share of those challenges as well over the years. I know so many people deal with these issues on a daily basis and most of us have no idea that those people are battling anything.

 

Here are some important things I’ve learned over the years if you’re trying to manage a chronic illness:

You are not your illness. While it may bring you to your knees on occasion, it does not define your life.

Take life one day at a time – but still, make plans for the future. It’s a bit of a dichotomy. I’ve always been a planner, so when I had to start canceling plans left and right due to bad days, it was a huge lesson to me. Lesson one was that your health is the most important thing and it was okay to accept that you can’t predict how you will feel from one day to the next. Lesson two was that you also have to have plans and goals to keep you motivated and to give you some direction. Flexibility is key.

Surround yourself with people that support you. You learn when you’re dealing with a chronic illness who is good for you and who is toxic.

Doctor’s are people, too. Yes, they’ve been to school for many years and specialize in understanding medical conditions, but they’re human and sometimes they make mistakes. I think you should always listen to what they say, but remember that they are not the final call on how to handle your medical condition.

Trust your gut. If you get an answer that just doesn’t feel right in your gut, trust yourself. Get a second opinion, do whatever you need to do to get answers.

Learn to advocate for yourself. If you’re parenting a child with a chronic illness, advocate for them and teach them how to advocate for themselves. It is the best gift you can give them.

Keep a copy of all of your medical records. All lab results, imaging results, and every doctor visit. You’re entitled by law to a copy of these records, however, most doctors don’t just offer these up. You have to request them.

Don’t dismiss the power of good nutrition or the benefits of Eastern Medicine. Food is fuel for your body. Garbage in, garbage out. At least try to reduce the amount of packaged food you’re eating on a regular basis. And, acupuncture really can work wonders.

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