Thursday, May 9, 2013

It's OK to be Sick

 I told you in my last post I'm getting OK about how life is a journey, and how each new road we travel teaches us something new. I told you how in my journey I was forced to take a detour, the road I had to now travel was called Crohn's. It's bumpy, painfully jarring, and filled with puddles; that's the nice version. The not so nice way to describe it would be to say it's a shitty, messy road that's a pain in the ass to navigate.

How I imagine my Crohn's road looks. Wet, messy, always thinking I might fall off the edge and never knowing what's around the next curve.

But like it or not this is the road that I have been forced to take.

I didn't like it and for a long time I pretended I was still on the highway. I ignored my illness and kept going full speed ahead. Actually I probably went a little over the speed limit. I was sick, and they didn't know what was wrong with me. I was a stay home mom, but out of the blue my phone started ringing because my hobby, photography had gone viral locally. That year, while sick with an unknown illness and my 5'6" frame weighing 103 pounds I agreed to photograph 20 high school kids before the end of the season two months later. I also photographed some families, children and babies. Two years later, diagnosed with Crohn's and Rimicade no longer working, I stopped taking appointments at 117 high school kids, the last kid I took booked 8 months in advance. This self taught stay home mom grossed over $135,000 that year, by herself. She also landed in the hospital and was told if she didn't stop and slow down she was going to die.

That was my denial of my illness, my I'm not going to let Crohn's win mentality. I did exactly what I wanted to do and taxed my body past it's endurance. During that time and for many years after I tried the diets, the miracle cures, the positive thinking. I did everything but accept the fact that I have an illness, and that it's now a part of this body. No amount of my will or bulling was going to make it go away.

Acceptance of your illness is not letting it win.  It's educating yourself about your illness and being an involved participant in your treatment program. It's being your own advocate. It's taking care of yourself and meeting your bodies needs, something that you should do regardless of whether or not you have an illness. It's about being OK with 2pm naps, and not telling yourself your lazy. It's about days when you cry and feel sorry for yourself, and times when you get angry at the injustice of it all. Those are normal feelings and you are justified in having them.

My motto for my own chronic illness.

Acceptance of yourself as a chronically ill person is hard, it's something I still struggle with myself, but it's getting easier every day. In the next couple of weeks I'll talk about some of the acceptance points I listed above. We'll talk about how Crohn's has made me more acceptable of other peoples weakness. I'll even tell you some of the things I do specific to Crohn's that makes life a little easier.

Until next time Chronies.

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