Chronic Illness demands that we stay flexible, like wire coils. If we don’t we can crash and burn, can’t we?
It was 2:00am when I woke with a headache & felt like I was burning with fever. I was convinced it was the H1N1 virus (aka swine flu). As I lay in bed, too tired to do anything, anxiety set in — as it can only do in the middle of the night. My day ahead seemed to me packed from early morning until late day with client appointments and other meetings.
I tried to figure out what could be rescheduled and what couldn’t while lying in the dark.
Finally, I stumbled to the bathroom and found the thermometer. It wasn’t 103 – it was 99. That’s when I remembered that earlier in the day, I’d taken my weekly dose of the drug therapy for Multiple Sclerosis). It’s not unusual for me to have flu-like symptoms for the first 12 hours, especially if the fever reducing pill I take had worn off! Popping a long lasting fever reducing pill this time, I went back to sleep and woke up feeling fine the next morning.
Good news is no illness today and another bullet dodged. But then I realized that worrying about things like swine flu is what “normal and healthy” people do. For the past 30 years, my life, like so many who live with a chronic illness, has required constant attention to any new ailment that might be develop and prevent me from doing what I’d planned.
It’s another reminder that when you live with a chronic illness or syndrome – it doesn’t matter whether it’s autoimmune disease, coronary disease, cancer or chronic pain – your life has the same issues and concerns as healthy people. It’s just that an unpredictable and disabling occurance is more likely to happen to you , isn’t it?
This is where it helps to develop your capacity to stay “light on your toes” , so you can respond to the punches. I describe this resilience in detail in my book, Women Work and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working, Girlfriend!. That way you can respond to the unexpected and the disappointing without letting it grind you to a halt.
What do you do when the unexpected symptom crops up or gets worse and it means that you can’t meet your obligations?
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