Lene on learning from chronic illness

Plotting to take over the world pales in comparison to balancing life with a chronic illness.   Living with a chronic illness — any chronic illness — is an excellent teacher. It may not be a learning environment most of us would choose, but once there, living through the experience can teach you some important new skills. Balancing everything that goes into living with a chronic illness is a full-time job. You're keeping track of the right amount of medication to manage your symptoms, while making sure the side effects are down to a dull roar. Added to that is paying attention to how much rest you're getting compared to your activity level. Another ingredient is balancing your diet, not just to stay healthy, but also to help with certain side effects. If you have pain, you have to pay attention to rest, medication (dose and interval), treatments to help with pain and finding the right pillow to support parts of your body when you do finally get into bed. And don't get me started on the balancing act of being a frequent flyer in the healthcare system — there are labs, appointments with multiple specialists, physical therapists and other supporting players and the list goes on. It's no wonder that people who are new to inflammatory arthritis have the urge to curl up in a fetal position in a corner. The good news is that over time, it all becomes second nature. Once you're through the first year, you sort of hit a groove. Life may not be a dance on roses, but you're starting to figure it out. A couple of years in and you got the mad skills of a master project planner. Plotting to take over the world pales in comparison to balancing life with a […]

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