Backwards Pants and Physical Therapy

Yes, you read that right…..

Backwards pants.

Since my most recent relapse, I have developed an unfortunate amount of muscle atrophy. With the increased steroid dose and post surgery recovery, I have lost the ability to walk longer than 10 feet.

At 24 years old, I feel this is unacceptable. So this week I have started physical therapy!

I was very anxious going into my evaluation. My biggest fear was I would have some overbearing physical therapist that would not understand the dangers of adrenal insufficiency and I would end up in the hospital from being pushed too hard. I feared my body would crumble after being bedridden for six months. I feared another adrenal crisis.

The reality of my evaluation could not have been further from my fears. The physical therapist took an extensive history from me and assured me that we would proceed at my pace. She instructed me to let her know if I felt too stressed or too much pain. Upon reviewing my medication list, she informed me she had been placed on steroids for a few months and understood the struggles. She sympathized with me and expressed that she couldn’t imagine the fate of being on steroids for life. Her compassion was comforting.

My assessment astounded me with how much atrophy I have truly developed. I discovered my left side only has 30% range of motion and my leg muscles are only functioning at 3%. So it looks like I started physical therapy just in time.

The exercises she did with me were slightly painful, but I felt a sense of accomplishment to be moving again. I saw the true reality of my physical condition. I am weak now but I will get stronger.

She sent me home with an exercise regiment and I will see her twice a week for the next two months. I am very sore, but I  know that I am on the road to better function!

So where do the backward pants come in?

I got home, only to be told by my family that my black, stretchy yoga pants were on backwards and also inside out….drawstring and tag hanging out for all the world to see. I could not help but laugh. I am sure I made a great impression and appeared really intelligent with my backwards pants.

Lesson I learned today- I should not have been so anxious about physical therapy. I have the power to set limits and say no!

I also learned to check out what I am wearing BEFORE I leave the house.

Chronic illness warriors, we can’t be afraid to try new things for better health. If you know in your heart there is something you need to improve your life then GO FOR IT.

I was amazed at how one day of physical therapy gave me the hope that I will be able to walk again. There are tools and resources out there for people struggling with their health. I never thought I would have the need for physical therapy, but I am so glad it is an option.

If you feel out of control, let me just assure you that you have not exhausted every option. There is always hope, we just have to find it.

Here’s to better days of more function ahead!



I am out of control

I am out of control.

I think the hardest part about chronic illness is realizing that control is a total illusion. I often wonder what my six year old self would think if she knew what she would become. Would she look forward to the future? Would she think I handled the battles well? That little girl is all grown up, in a reality she never would have dreamed of. She grew up and developed a rare, auto immune endocrine disorder, Addison’s disease.

As children, we are asked questions like, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” I was always the confident kid who had an answer to everything. “Yes! I’ll be a doctor because I want to help people.” Little me said time and time again. I earnestly believed I could choose my future, and with that belief that adulthood meant control. I thought being an adult meant I could determine my entire life.

Everyone of us who suffers with illness has a dream of “What I could be…if.”

I now see how flawed my childhood ideals were. Yes, chronic illness you have taken my control. I cannot change what happened today, last week or last year. But I can control how I look towards tomorrow.

I will still have Addison’s disease tomorrow but I refuse to let it cripple me. When I wake, I will choose to revel in the beauty of a new beginning. I will allow the sting of my tender spirit to remind me I am still alive. I will use my pain to inspire and help others heal their own. I will learn from the error of my ways. I will smile. I will let myself hurt. I will let myself heal. I will take care of my body. I will let my salty tears remind me of the ocean and not the pain.

Chronic Illness, you took my control but you will not take my character.

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life with chronic illness

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