Chronic Illness tests even the strongest relationships; causing some to fail. This letter is to all those who have been through breakups. May you find your source of light.
Hi, its me, your chronically ill ex. I’m writing this letter to tell you all the things I never got to say.
First, I want to thank you for being with me through the rough moments my health caused. With you by my side, the hospital stays, surgeries and emergency room visits were a little less terrifying. I want to thank you for holding me on the days where I couldn’t get out of bed. Thank you for making me smile whenever all I wanted to do was cry.
I often wondered if I was cursed with all that’s wrong with me, but you were the constant reminder that there were still good things in life.
I realize it isn’t easy loving someone who needed so much help, but you never made me feel like any less of a person. You always made me feel as if I still mattered. My illness was something we both battled. You were my partner, my ally, my best friend.
As my body changed, you never made me feel any less beautiful. You promised me the disease could never make me any less beautiful, because the beauty you saw came from my soul.You never complained about staying home with me instead of traveling the world and visiting theme parks like our friends did. Our paradise was our time together. I didn’t have to travel to exotic places, because my whole world was beside me.
Even though we are not together now, I want to thank you for being a light in the darkness. I always attributed your presence to what saved me from utter darkness and despair.
I saw you as the source of light in my life.
And then I realized something! When there is much deep, pitch- black, darkness any speck of light seems brighter. My illness was so devastating it created so much darkness in my life, of course you seemed to be the brightest light in the universe.
But you didn’t save me. You didn’t shield me from the darkness. I did. I saved me. I kept my own internal light burning. I held onto the light within my soul,
When you left, I felt like the only light in my life had gone out. But I quickly saw that I had always been holding onto my own light all along. My spirit inside me was what kept me alive all these years, not you. As much as it hurts to see you truly abandon me, it made me realize that I never really needed you at all. The light I thought you were came from me the whole time.
So, I wish you well, former love. Thank you for helping me realize the power within myself.
Obesity and weight loss can be major challenges for those of us who struggle with chronic illness. Unlike healthy people, we can’t just hit the gym harder and work off the excess pounds. So what can we do?
Below is a list of tips to consider if you are trying to manage your weight.
1- Visit your doctor.
Weight gain can sometimes be caused by an underlying medical issue. There are thousands of things that can be impacting your weight. Thyroid issues, hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance and certain nutritional deficiencies can all cause you to pack on the pounds, despite diet and exercise. If you are struggling to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider, request lab testing and rule out any medical condition concerns.
2- Eat right.
Eating right is different for everyone. You have to decide what is best for your body, your health and your lifestyle. Two people can be on the same diet and have completely different results. Certain health conditions can inhibit your tolerance to specific diets. For example, those who have chronic kidney disease are discouraged from diets such as Adkins or the Keto diet due to the high amount of animal protein consumed. People with endocrine conditions such as diabetes or hypoglycemia are discouraged from intermittent fasting due to unstable blood glucose levels. People with mental health issues, depression and anxiety sometimes struggle with low carb diets due to the lack of serotonin. You have to figure out the diet you feel best on. The goal is to eat as naturally as possible. Avoid refined sugars, saturated fats and artificial ingredients such as aspartame, MSG, preservatives and artificial coloring.
3- Stay Active.
Obviously, not everyone is a marathon runner or power lifting champion. Those with chronic health conditions may not be able to perform extensive exercise, however it is still important to stay as active as possible. Simple exercises such as walking or swimming are low impact and beneficial to the body. Don’t think you have to torture yourself to stay active. The old saying is true, If you don’t move it- you lose it. Little things like walking up and down stairs, climbing in and out of a bathtub or bending down to pick something up are ways we move our bodies without even realizing it. If you are struggling with exercise, start with 15 minutes of low impact stretching a day. Conditioning your body is a slow process. The point is just to keep moving and stay as active as possible!
How many of our calories do we consume unnecessarily through sugary drinks? Do not drink your calories. Sugary coffees, sodas, milkshakes and slushies are wasted calories. Our bodies are not meant to process high amounts of sugar all at once. Consistently drinking these beverages can cause insulin issues and lead to Type Two Diabetes. Water is what your body is made of. We need to stay hydrated to stay as healthy as possible. Drink adequate water and avoid the sugary drinks!
5- Assess your medications.
Talk with your healthcare provider about the medications you are taking. Certain medications cause weight gain. Steroids and anti-depressants are notorious for causing weight gain. No one wants to be on medication and sometimes they are absolutely necessary. But check with your doctor to see if there may be alternatives to your prescriptions that could be causing weight gain. If not, don’t fret. What’s the point of looking good if you don’t feel good? Take the medications you need for the best quality of life possible. Don’t beat yourself up if they have caused you to gain weight. The point of life is to live to the fullest every day, and if medications help you do that, the extra pounds are a small price to pay.
Adequate rest and sleep are essential to being healthy. When your body is run down, exhausted and tired it cannot function at 100%! Your body will be stressed out and that can cause increased cortisol levels and lead to weight gain. Rest when you are tired. Sleep the recommended amount of at least 8 hours a night.
7- Manage Stress.
If you are constantly burning the candle at both ends, your body is going to react to that. If your body goes into survival mode, it is going to slow your metabolism, store fat and not work properly. High stress is one of the worst things you can do to your body. Weight loss won’t happen until you get your stress levels under control. Practicing healthy habits like meditation, having a positive mindset, avoiding negative people and performing relaxation techniques are great ways to manage stress.
Preparation is the key to success. Planning your meals, grocery shopping and meal prep are essential to successful weight loss. You cannot lose weight if you are constantly eating fast food and consuming poor-quality nutrition. Meal plans can be found for free online and there are thousands of diet books and resources available. Your health is an investment and you must take the time to invest in it. Plan your meals, learn to cook at home and avoid fast food.
9- Get a Support System.
Losing weight is a difficult process. It helps to have people that will support you along your weight loss journey and keep you accountable. Join a support group, go on a healthy diet with your spouse or best friend, exercise in a class at the local gym or YMCA. Find people who will help you reach your goals. Avoid negative people who don’t support you. This is your life, your health and your goals. Align yourself with people who will lift you up and not tear you down.
10- Love yourself.
Ultimately, you are not defined by your looks or your weight. The goal of weight loss should be to feel better not look better. Weight loss is about being as healthy as possible. If you are miserable on a certain diet, don’t torture yourself. Some people go into severe depression on low carb diets while others have success. You have to know what is best for your body and love yourself for who you are. Your weight doesn’t define you, your heart does. All you can do is your best and that is enough.
Best of luck with your weight loss journey.
To read more from Winslow, feel free to visit her website
When I think of the word anxiety, it brings up the feelings of worry and stress that my cerebral palsy causes in my everyday life.
It’s not that I want to have anxiety or that I like the feeling of having it, it’s just the simplest things can trigger me. I noticed the first thing that triggers me to have anxiety attacks is when I can’t physically be a part of something because of the disability my cerebral palsy causes me.
“…the simplest things can trigger me.”
For example, when I was growing up and attending public school, going to physical education class used to be my least favorite class. If the teacher had something that I couldn’t be a part of, I would have sit on the sidelines and watch, wishing I could be like the rest of the world.
I still feel the same way at times, even as an adult. But I would say what triggers my anxiety now as an adult is not being able to get up and go like a “normal” person would. I become overwhelmed with the everyday stresses of life.
“…what triggers my anxiety now as an adult is not being able to get up and go like a ‘normal’ person would.”
Having cerebral palsy can make me feel very overwhelmed with life altogether. Going to doctor’s appointments can become very stressful and cause me to have an anxiety attack because of the outcome of the doctor’s finding of my condition.
When it comes to my anxiety, it feels like the world is spinning and nothing I do could stop me from having an attack. But it also feels like I’m trapped in my own body because I’m stuck in my space that I can’t get out of twenty-four seven.
“…it feels like the world is spinning and nothing I do could stop me from having an attack…”
It’s so hard just to keep going at times, especially when I look at people my age that don’t have anything wrong with them according to society.
Dealing with the pain also causes anxiety for me as well. My mind goes on a roller coaster ride as my legs begin to hurt and I think to myself, “Oh, here we go again.” Along with that it also feels like I’m the gingerbread man in the board game when it gets stuck.
But the thing that helps it all, aside from having to sometimes take medication for it, is the support of my family and my faith in God as my savior because I know with Him by my side I’ll be okay.
About the Author:
Tylia Flores is a 22-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world. In doing so, she hopes to help others with disabilities realize that they, too, have the potential to make their dreams come true.
I’ve been diagnosed with cervical dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, since 2010. As an extremely disabling condition with sometimes relentless chronic pain, it’s had a tremendous impact on just about every area of my life including limiting my driving abilities, my capacity to work and to be able to take my son with special needs, to some of the extracurricular things I’d like to see him be able to participate in.
“As an extremely disabling condition with sometimes relentless chronic pain, it’s had a tremendous impact on just about every area of my life.”
I’ve been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome for years and figured that every quirky GI symptom I’ve had was just the IBS acting up. But for the past few months the more distressing symptoms were intensifying and I was noting more blood in the toilet when I went to the bathroom.
As a special needs mom of three, one of whom is a heart patient, I’m pretty good at doing research. So naturally, I started Googling “Inflammatory Bowel Disease” and started to wonder if that was what was going on and scaring the daylights out of myself in the process.
Finally, I went to the gastro in January, who ordered a colonoscopy. I procrastinated about getting that procedure done for a few months and finally got that done in April of this year.
For some reason the prep didn’t seem to be going as well as previous times. When I came out of the procedure, the doctor told me that the prep was indeed poor, and that I had colitis but they’d have to do biopsies in order to confirm what type it was. The doctor didn’t think anything major like cancer was going on.
Afterwards we stopped for breakfast at one of our favorite places just like we’d done in the past. I ordered some food, but then I began feeling horribly nauseous and couldn’t eat. The nausea became overwhelming and then I lost consciousness in the restaurant in front of my husband. A retired law enforcement officer, he started trying to give me mouth to mouth right away. Luckily there were some medical personnel from the local hospital there too and they called an ambulance.
“I lost consciousness in the restaurant in front of my husband […] he started trying to give me mouth to mouth right away.”
I spent several hours on ER having vitals checked as well as an EKG. I was super nauseous for several hours and couldn’t go to the bathroom by myself for awhile. My vitals all checked out as normal, but every time I tried to stand up the nausea came back. They gave me some meds or that and when it finally seemed to be under control, I went home to rest.
The doctor told me that it didn’t matter what I ate, but again… special needs mom that I am, I question standard medical advice. Also, I’m pretty holistically-minded about everything. I knew about the Gaps diet and was able to source a few things immediately. Something about being told my colon was “oozing” was very motivating to get started right away!
I’ve already begun to see some slow improvement but I understand that this is a major lifestyle change. I’d already made lots of changes over the last couple of years including a 40 pound weight loss and a food plan that was comfortable for me. But now I’m having to make more changes. I miss my morning oatmeal, coffee, and other creature comforts that help to keep me sane.
“30+ years of sobriety, being a special needs mom and living with another chronic illness have helped me to develop a self care arsenal that keeps me grounded through anything that life throws at me.”
Checking in with my mindset about everything, although I complain about the food restrictions on the Gaps diet, I think I’ve handled it all relatively well. 30+ years of sobriety, being a special needs mom and living with another chronic illness have helped me to develop a self care arsenal that keeps me grounded through anything that life throws at me. For me this looks like daily devotions, meditation, yoga, and writing. A little dark humor and sarcasm goes a long way too. Unfortunately that list also used to include a good cup of coffee, but I guess that’s out for now until I’m more stable.
I’ve learned that my life’s journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes there’s going to be awful days. Situations that I’m totally powerless over. At times like these it’s perfectly okay to lay low and focus on what I need to.
At this point I haven’t had the follow up with the doctor or got the lab results back. Honestly, I am a little anxious about it after doing some research and seeing the the possible treatment options are, how invasive they might be, how much is this going to cost and how cooperative will my insurance company be?
“I’m being proactive about what I have to do, taking it one day at a time and giving myself lots of grace to get through this.”
But believe it or not, it isn’t consuming me like it might have at one time. I stay busy with my blog, my dogs and my self-care practices in order to stay grounded. I’m being proactive about what I have to do, taking it one day at a time and giving myself lots of grace to get through this.
Marya Mesa is a special needs mother who writes at www.ChronicMomLife.com about chronically sober living with faith, intention, & self care.
Or maybe its counterparts: “Am I enough?” or “Do I have what it takes?”
“Am I enough?” … “Do I have what it takes?”
Well, who can blame you?
You can’t stay out long without worrying about your unpredictable and embarrassing symptoms that can come on anytime.
You’ve canceled multiple events, projects, trips and dates because of your chronic back pain, migraine, brain fog or other chronic symptoms you cannot identify anymore.
Or, you gave up that promotion because you need to rest and stay home to hopefully (fingers-crossed) recover.
Heck, you can’t even clean up your own room and shower on your bad days!
For most of these things, I have learned to live with and without through the years since I became a spoonie. But there is still this one thing that makes me cringe and keeps me awake at night.
“I have learned to live with and without through the years since I became a spoonie. But there is still this one thing that makes me cringe and keeps me awake at night.”
The Most Popular Pageant Question
“What is the essence of being a woman?”
Let that question hang for a moment there and let’s think about it.
While I haven’t joined any beauty pageant (nor will I ever join one), I’ve felt compelled to answer that question as I got older.
Most especially right after every major flare-up.
And then there are those follow-up questions that I often hear from family and friends that take my self-worth to a nosedive.
“How can you handle the stress of being a wife and a mother if you’re like that?
“Can your body bear and give birth to a child?”
“You get dizzy often. How can you survive the sleepless nights of a new mother plus manage the household?
I love kids and I’d love to have my own.
I long to care for and love a lifetime partner.
I’m not going to lie to you. Motherhood has been one of my dreams as a woman.
I thought it was a big part of my essence.
So, what if…
… my condition won’t allow me to bear and raise a child, do most of the house chores, homeschool, and get a regular job?
Will I be less of a woman? Will I not live up to the true essence of a woman?
Ms. Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen said that, “Just being a woman is God’s gift that all of us must appreciate. The origin of a child is a mother, and is a woman. She shows a man what sharing, caring and loving is all about. That is the essence of a woman.”
That was beautiful.
A woman does not have to be a mother or a wife to share, care, and love.
Granted, Sushmita is not a spoonie like you and me (not that I know of). And I know that it’s hard to think of your real essence when you wake up feeling like you were hit by a truck.
So, I looked for…
3 Real and Badass Women with Chronic Illness
Williams is one of the world’s best woman tennis players. In 2011, she disclosed that she was diagnosed with the incurable and difficult to diagnose Sjögren’s Syndrome. It’s an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the glands that make tears and saliva. It can also target the joints, thyroid, kidneys, liver, lungs, skin and nerves.
After adopting a new exercise regimen and a vegan diet, she started to recover and able to play again. In fact, she won her first tennis title in two years in 2014 in Dubai. Win or lose, she continued to play.
“I think we all dream of winning tournaments but we don’t think of being more of a force in the game of tennis other than for ourselves. For me that would be the best legacy”, she told CNN.
I personally know Jen as she is one of my awesome online business mentors. She is a wife and a mom to the “best 3 crazies” (her words, not mine). She has an online business which “helps women build and grow their online business, so they can have the flexibility to do the work they love while spending time with the people they love.”
When she was 25 years old, she was diagnosed with Lupus. Later on, she discovered she also had Raynaud’s, Sjögren’s Syndrome, and Endometriosis.
Her best piece of advice for anyone living with chronic illness and trying to run a business?
“Listen to your body! If your body is saying rest, rest! Don’t overdo it so you end up in the hospital or worse. Remember we aren’t performing brain surgery or creating oxygen. Our businesses and our missions are important, but we are too!” – Jen
“Listen to your body! If your body is saying rest, rest!”
Kris is the subject and director of the award-winning documentary film “Crazy Sexy Cancer” which was about her transformation and health journey through cancer. On Valentine’s Day in 2003, she was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer.
She changed her diet and lifestyle and discovered that while she cannot be cured, she could still be healthy and feel better.
She has written 5 best-selling books and created health and wellness programs that inspire, transform and heal a lot of women.
Kris says, “If I can pull that off, just imagine what YOU can do.”
Celebrate What You Can Do
There is no shame in pulling the covers over your head and canceling your appointments to rest and take care of yourself.
There is no shame in pulling the covers over your head and canceling your appointments to rest and take care of yourself.
No shame in your physical limitations.
You may miss those things you used to do. I do, too.
But is it possible you may be taking the things you can still do for granted?
I believe that you have a purpose. Every single day, you are being equipped to fulfill it. There is no one else who can take your place to do it.
Close your eyes and take 3 deep and slow breaths.
Now, think of the things you can still do.
In the comments, share one of them by completing this sentence:
I can ___________________ and I’m grateful for it.
Lastly, this goes out to you and to the woman in the mirror:
Your essence is within you and no one can take it away from you.
Chronic illness does not make you less of a woman.
Mary is a thriving spoonie, a health blogger, an online solopreneur and a natural healing advocate. Despite chronic illness, she believes spoonies are valuable, strong and capable to make a difference in our society. She is on a mission to help women with chronic illness thrive by sharing her own experiences, fellow spoonies’ success stories, tools, programs and tips that focus on real food. Join her in this journey here.
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. It can be a daunting experience, this post was written with the intent to provide you with a patient’s perspective on the pros, cons and realities of a hysterectomy. This post is not intended to replace medical guidance or treat any condition. Please discuss the risks and benefits of hysterectomy with your doctor if you are considering a hysterectomy.
Different types of a hysterectomy-
Subtotal hysterectomy- removal of the upper part of the uterus, leaving the cervix in place.
Total hysterectomy- removal the entire uterus and cervix.
Radical hysterectomy- removal of the entire uterus, tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and the top part of the vagina. (Typically is only done when cancer is present.)
Reasons to have a hysterectomy-
Uterine Fibriods- Fibroids are benign tumors that grow in the muscles of the uterus.
Endometriosis- Endometrial tissue grows on the outside of the uterus and on nearby organs, causing pain, infertility and endometriomas.
Uterine prolapse- Benign condition in which the uterus abnormally moves and shifts into the vagina.
Hyperplasia- The lining of the uterus becomes too thick and causes abnormal bleeding.
Unresolved Pelvic pain
Unresolved Abnormal bleeding
Different Surgical Techniques-
Vaginal hysterectomy- The surgeon makes a cut in the vagina and removes the uterus through this incision.
Laparoscopic hysterectomy- This surgery is done using a tube with a camera and surgical tools inserted through incisions made in the belly. The surgeon performs the hysterectomy with the use of surgical tools by viewing the operation on a video screen.
Laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy- The surgeon removes the uterus through an incision in the vagina assisted by laparoscopic surgical tools.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy- The surgeon controls a robotic system of surgical tools to perform the hysterectomy by using laparoscopic incisions.
Abdominal hysterectomy- Hysterectomy done through an open abdominal incision, giving the surgeon broad access to the pelvic organs.
Deciding to have a hysterectomy is a daunting decision. You and your doctor need to have an extensive conversation regarding the risks and benefits of whether this life changing surgery is the best choice for you.
Things to consider-
Your quality of life.
Is your pelvic pain inhibiting your life? Is it impacting your ability to work, sleep or function normally?
Is your cycle normal? Are you bleeding heavily or more than once a month?
Is it impacting your intimacy?
Are you missing work or social functions because of your symptoms?
Are your hormones out of balance?
Do you have fibroids, endometriosis or frequent ovarian cysts?
Are you in pain?
Do you frequently rely on pain killers (such as NSAIDS, tylenol or prescription pain medication)?
The answers to these questions are what you need to speak with your doctor about if you are considering a hysterectomy.
Your quality of life is what matters.
A hysterectomy is a tough choice. It renders a woman unable to ever carry a biological child. It is life changing surgery and should not be taken lightly.
That being said, if you are suffering and a hysterectomy can help you….it is all but worth it.
At 25 years old, I had to make the tough choice to have a hysterectomy due to uterine fibroids, endometriosis and severe pelvic pain. I tried every viable option before making this difficult, heartbreaking choice. I tried every form of birth control, natural hormone, pill, cream, IUD and surgical option- all to no avail.
I have aggressive endometriosis. Since the age of 12, I have suffered with agonizing periods, abnormal bleeding, menstrual migraines and pelvic pain. It only seemed to get worse the older I got.
I had my first gynecological surgery at age 18 after endometriosis was discovered during an appendectomy/cholecystectomy. I had a pelvic D&C surgery done just about every year after that due to the endometriosis, fibroids and pain.
I tried birth control pills.
I tried bio-identical hormone therapies.
I tried alternative therapies.
I tried progesterone cream.
I tried estrogen patches.
I tried two different IUDs. (Skyla and Mirena)
I tried several surgical options.
Nothing seemed to quell my symptoms or stop the aggressive endometriosis.
The Final Straw-
I had to travel back to North Carolina from Florida due to Hurricane Irma. I was stuck in NC for over a month and had my period the entire time. Already fighting Addison’s disease and Medullary Sponge Kidney, the strain on my already taxed body was just too much. The agonizing cramps, non-stop bleeding, menstrual migraines HAD to come to an end. I knew that a pregnancy would be dangerous if I ever attempted it. The odds of me successfully carrying a baby full term were slim to none.
I made an appointment with my GYN and voiced my concerns. He agreed with me that a hysterectomy was my best option.
On November 22, 2017 I had a total hysterectomy. The surgeon informed me that I made the right decision and my uterus could not have been saved. My endometriosis was so aggressive that it had covered my uterus, cervix Fallopian tubes and created an endometrioma on my left ovary- all of which had to be removed.
As a woman who wanted children, I was devastated but knew I made the right choice.
-What to expect-
As prepared as I thought I was, emotionally this surgery hit me hard. I do not regret my decision, but it is hard knowing that I will never be a mother. Prepare yourself for the loss. It is, indeed, a loss. This surgery takes away your ability to conceive a child, but it doesn’t take away your ability to be a mother, to nurture and to love.
This surgery also takes away horrible cramps, seemingly endless menstrual periods and fears of miscarrying and passing on horrible genetics.
Focus on what you are gaining from this surgery, not what you are losing.
If you are still struggling with emotional balance, seek help. Inform your doctor. There are many options for dealing with post-hysterectomy depression.
I am not going to sugar coat it, this surgery is a painful one. Be sure you have a conversation with your surgeon about post surgery pain relief because you will need it.
Be sure you have pain medication, proper hydration and nutrition during your recovery.
You will need to sleep a lot to recover. There is no shame in this. Pushing through the pain will stall your recovery. Give your body what it needs, be gentle with yourself.
You will struggle to sit on wooden chairs, walk up stairs and bend over to grab things.
Ask for help if you need it. Don’t push yourself.
After my hysterectomy, I struggled to urinate on my own. This can be a complication from anesthesia. You may require urinary catherization post surgery. Be sure to communicate with your healthcare team if you are having trouble urinating to prevent discomfort and infection. Do not strain to pee! This can cause you to rip your incisions! If you are struggling, communicate with your nurse/CNA.
A hysterectomy doesn’t change who you are as a person, but it does change your physical ability. Some people may not understand what you are going through. Some people may say mean things like “You are selfish for choosing not to have children” or try to place guilt or blame on you.
DO NOT ALLOW THIS!
You had to make this difficult decision, if anything YOU ARE the victim here and NOT at fault.
You are not less of a woman just because you cannot have a baby.
You are not less of a woman because you no longer have menstrual cycles or a uterus.
You are not at fault. You are not to blame.
Your quality of life is what is important.
Those who truly love you will understand.
I hope this article helps you understand the reality of a hysterectomy.
Below is the video of my personal story with my hysterectomy.
A new year can be the start of a new beginning. It is typically the time where people set new goals to accomplish for the next year. But with a chronic illness, keeping a New Year’s resolution can be extra challenging. Below are some tips to help you reach your goals and accomplish your dreams!
How to keep your New Year’s Resolutions with chronic illness-
1- Be Realistic. Set goals that you know you can accomplish.
Example- If better fitness is your goal, set realistic goals appropriate for your lifestyle, illness and activity level. If you tell yourself “I’m gunna lose 10lbs a week” and then you don’t you, will be discouraged and end up giving up. Be realistic. Instead of saying “I’m gunna lose 10lbs a week” say “I’m gunna eat right, hydrate and exercise as best as I can. Health is the FIRST priority.
3- Pace yourself. Don’t be “all or nothing.”
If you start out all “gung ho” and go “full throttle” you will burn yourself out and end up giving up. Change isn’t easy and it has to be done in sensible increments.
Example- If you are trying a new diet, do your food adjustments slowly. You will throw your body into a quick and painful detox if you all of the sudden drop all sugar, gluten or meat out of your diet. Focus on replacing the bad things with good things. Instead of eating a piece of cake after dinner, have a piece of fruit instead. Instead of drinking sweet tea throughout the day, replace it with water.
Change needs to happen in a way that ensures you will continue the new habits you’ve chosen to add to your life.
3- Make Positive Resolutions. Be sure you are doing what’s best for you.
Do not compromise your health for any New Year’s resolutions.
Example- All of us with chronic illness would like to be on less medicine. If this is your goal, be sure that you are vigilant of your health needs first. Yes, you want to be off the medicine but if it is helping you or even keeping you alive- this resolution is not what is best for you.
When it comes to adding or taking things out of your life, be sure you are weighing the proper Pros and Cons. Don’t put your health at risk for anything. I promise you it’s not worth it.
Your health comes first, before any resolution.
4- Write out Out. Make a visual chart of what you hope to accomplish.
Grab a pen and paper and write out your weekly, monthly and yearly goals that you hope to accomplish.
Write out a “game plan” of how you are going to accomplish your resolutions.
Example- Schedule for the New Year’s Resolution of getting healthier.
Daily Plan- Drink at least 8 glasses of water. Walk for at least fifteen minutes. Eat healthy foods.
It may help you to post your goals around places you will see them (your mirror, your desk at work, your car, etc)
5- Get Support. Align yourself with people who have the same goals.
Example- If you are starting a new diet, find an online support group for people also on that diet to get tips, recipes and information to help you succeed. This will give you encouragement and accountability.
6- Understand that things take time. Don’t be hard on yourself.
Any change is going to take time! Nothing happens overnight!
You won’t be able to get everything perfect all at once. There will be days where you fail but that is okay! All that matters is that you try your best.
All good things take time to develop and bad habits die hard.
You can accomplish your goals! Don’t give up!
The UnChargeables Site is here if you need support!
Endometrosis is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus and spreads to other parts of the body. Symptoms can be menstrual cramps, lower abdominal pressure, irregular menstrual periods, heavy/painful periods, infertility and miscarriage.
The condition range from mild and painless to extremely debilitating.
The only way to officially diagnose this condition is by surgical discovery, as endometrial cells do not show up on ultrasound.
Endometriomas may also develop with this condition. Endometriomas are a type of cyst formed when endometrial tissue grows in the ovaries.
Endometrioma can also be referred to as an endometrioid cysts. These can cause excess bleeding, severe pain and affect fertility.
If you are having painful cycles, consult your gynecologist.
The treatment for endometriosis is typically oral hormone therapy with contraceptive medication (birth control pills).
I suffered from severely painful menstrual cycles since the onset of puberty at 12 years old. I would bleed for weeks at a time, sometimes have cycles that lasted for months. I saw multiple gynecologists throughout my teenage years and suffered through many horrific periods and different birth control pills, patches and hormone adjustments. I finally found a physician willing to listen to me and at 18 years old, I had a diagnostic pelvic D & C because the doctor was sure I had endometriosis. His diagnosis was confirmed and I had stage 4 endometrosis removed. I was put on hormone therapy after that, but it caused my migraines to increase and I could not stay on them. I went unmedicated for years and the endometriosis returned with a vengeance. At 22 years old, I started having absolutely debilitating pelvic pain. I went to the emergency room and discovered I had a cyst on my left ovary. They told me it would go away. In normal women it does…..mine did not.
I suffered with it for a year. Just accepted it was a part of life and lived off of advil. I had kidney stones too, so I was used to being in pain. My health was declining anyhow at the time. (I had undiagnosed adrenal failure)
I went on a trip to Myrtle beach, SC and spend the entire day in the ocean. Later that night, I had a sudden, sharp pain that was horrific. I knew something was wrong. I called my GYN and as soon as I got home had an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed I had a large endometrioma. When my GYN got the ultrasound result, he told me my ovary was damaged and needed to be removed.
I ended up having that surgery and got an IUD to prevent the endometriosis from returning.
Fast forward 3 years, I’ve had 2 more surgeries since then and am scheduled to have a hysterectomy this coming week. I have aggressive endometriosis. I have had so many endometriomas that just won’t seem to stay away. I am also estrogen dominant. My grandmother passed away from endometrial cancer. Every single one of my dad’s sisters have had to have a hysterectomy before age 30. It runs strong in my genetics. It is tragic? Yeah. I wanted to be a mother, but the risk of cancer and the pain is just too high.
My message is this-
GET REGULAR ULTRASOUNDS! DON”T IGNORE YOUR PAIN.
If your periods are lasting longer than 7 days, something is WRONG.
Keep an eye on your iron levels.
See your GYN.
Wishing you all hope and healing
Love, Win <3
This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult your health care provider before starting or stopping any medical treatment.
I am NOT a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I am simply a woman who has done much research to understand disease and seeks to help others understand as well.
Anyone who has a chronic illness will tell you that it sucks. Often on the UnChargeables site, the other admins and I post funny memes about the challenges we face. We try to handle our lives with the best attitudes possible. I typically try to “make light” of my limitations.
But the truth is- Chronic Illness isn’t funny. It took the life I wanted away from me. I was supposed to be this powerful, successful medical person…healing and saving the world…..and now at 25 years old I am unable to work or drive.
The independent woman inside me even hates to see those words typed on the screen.
This being said, when chronic illness changes your life does that give us permission to pout?
Sadness is a human emotion. Regret is a natural feeling. Guilt is a constant factor lingering in the minds of the chronically ill.
Is it ever okay to let yourself have a pity party?
Contrary to popular belief, I say yes. (GASP! Yes…I’ll explain why in a moment)
I had one of these pity parties yesterday. I have been battling my usual fun symptoms with my kidney stones and addison’s disease…but somehow developed an active case of the shingles. Yesterday my pain was overwhelming. I was also hungry and just in a bad mood.
I usually try to be one of these “zen warriors.” I try to just swallow the pain and stress and put on a happy face. But I didn’t have the energy or the will to fake a smile.
I let myself cry. I let myself feel all the negative emotions.
I admitted I wasn’t the invincible warrior I try so hard to be.
And then I let it go.
I had a good cry, took a bubble bath and ordered a gluten free pizza.
I gave myself permission to pout.
I think everyone should, once in a while.
Bottling up emotions, grief and pain will only inhibit your health. Feeling emotions is necessary step in healing.
Have the pity party, just don’t attend it every night.
Music is one of the most powerful influences in the world today. It has the power to express every single emotion known to man. Below is a comprehensive list of the Ultimate Chronic Illness playlist, perfect for every mood, emotion and situation you might face.
“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” -Victor Hugo
When you need a battle cry -Angels Fall, Breaking Benjamin
When you need to appreciate life- Great day to be alive, Travis Tritt
When you need to accept things- Had Enough of this, Lifehouse
When you feel like you’re not getting ahead in life- Peace of Mind, Boston
When you need a happy, whiny song- Bird with a broken wing, Owl City
When you need to mentally party – Pitbull/Akon, Shut it down
When you need a song about a fresh start- A new day, Celine Dion
When you need to be thankful for another day of life- Good To Be Alive, Jason Gray
When you feel like sailing away- Orinoco Flow, Enya
When you need to feel free- Baba O’Riley, The Who
When you need to feel better (Mind over Matter song)- Feeling Alright, Huey Lewis
When you just need to feel like a rockstar- Back in Black, AC/DC
When you need to feel dark and dominant, Toccota and Fugue in D minor, Bach
When you need to fall apart- Pieces, Rob Thomas
When you need to let go- All in, TobyMac
When everyone is driving you crazy- Circus for a Psycho, Skillet
When you need a melancholy anthem- Far from home, Five Finger Death Punch
When things aren’t they way they are supposed to be- The Walk, Imogen Heap
When you just want to drive away- Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
When you need to stand up for yourself- Get off my back, Bryan Adams
When you need some pep in your step- Matthew Wilder, Break my stride
Hopefully this playlist will get you through some rough moments!! Stay strong spoonies!