When you are diagnosed with a chronic illness, you’ll notice things in your life will begin to change. Your emotional well-being, your productivity levels, and even your relationships are affected.
Of course, living with a chronic illness isn’t always a bad thing. There are some great benefits that come with a diagnosis. Sometimes though, they can be overshadowed by the day-to-day symptoms and pain.
My first diagnosis was at the age of three. I had experienced a very traumatic event and developed PTSD. Then on top of that, I was diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression, but I had no idea what else was to follow.
After heading to the doctor’s office for a yearly physical my senior year of high school, my doctor noticed a lump in my throat. I was quickly scheduled to have an ultrasound and they found a goiter on my thyroid. They then directed me to the lab and had my blood drawn. After two weeks of agonizing wait, I was told that I had Hypothyroidism. It was so bad that my doctor couldn’t believe I was standing. In fact, he said that if we hadn’t caught it when we did, I could have become fatally sick in the next couple of weeks.
Eventually, we got my medication sorted out and I began living the life of someone with an autoimmune disease. Little did I know, that wasn’t the end of it. I had been dealing with more and more symptoms over the course of time and I couldn’t figure out why. So, I made a visit to the health clinic on my college campus. After a full blood work up, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I thought we had figured it out!
Fast forward to the Summer of last year and my symptoms were horrible. I couldn’t walk without getting out of breath and light-headed. I couldn’t exercise or even shower without almost fainting. I knew something was wrong, but I just didn’t know what.
It took some pushing, but I was finally able to convince my new Endocrinologist that something else was wrong. Despite him saying, “You’re too young for more than one diagnosis,” he agreed to do more blood work. A few days later, he called me and said that I needed to come in immediately. Of course, I did as he said. He explained that my ANA was positive and I should make an appointment with my rheumatologist.
After contacting every rheumatologist in a 50-mile radius, I was told the earliest appointment I could get was a year away. At that moment, I completely broke down crying on the phone. I just didn’t know what else to do. My body was giving up on me and I didn’t know if I’d even make it that long. A couple of days later, I got a call that someone canceled an appointment and I could have a January appointment. I immediately said yes.
When I finally got to see the rheumatologist, she requested $2500 worth of lab work and multiple tests at the local hospital. Once all of those tests came back, I added even more diagnoses to my medical chart and I had to have a right heart catheterization!
I have now been diagnosed with:
- PTSD – Fibromyalgia
- Astigmatism – Sleep Apnea
- Hypothyroidism – IBS
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – Pulmonary Hypertension
- Anxiety – Chronic Sinusitis
- Depression – Chronic Tonsillitis
- Lupus – Lung Nodules
And that last one, being most recent, has been the scariest of them all. You see, lung cancer is very common in my family and everyone on my mother’s side of the family has died very young. In fact, she is the last one left, not including her sister’s kids, myself, and my brother. So, when I was told that the nodules could be cancerous, but I should ignore them for six months, I began freaking out. I mean seriously. How can you just ignore the fact that you might have cancer?
For the first couple of weeks following that appointment, I was stuck in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I might be dying on top of everything else going on. I started experiencing more anxiety attacks and weeks of depression. Things just weren’t going well.
Then it hit me. I am making myself more sick by worrying about something I can’t control. The nodules were too small to test, so I didn’t have a choice, but to wait six months for another CT scan and hope they didn’t grow. So, that’s when I decided I was going to live life one day at a time; and if you know me, that would not be an easy task.
Having anxiety, I am constantly worrying. It might be about my health, my never-ending to-do list, or even plans three weeks down the road. So learning to take life one day at a time was incredibly difficult, especially since our bodies react differently each and every day. However, I’ve been able to make it work and I’ve compiled a list of tips for you!
Tips for living life one day at a time with chronic illness a chronic illness:
- Pace yourself.
- Set priorities.
- Create a reasonable to-do list.
- Focus only on immediate concerns.
- Embrace yourself and your feelings.
- Understand that it’s ok not to finish everything.
- Block out “what if’s.”
- Celebrate every accomplishment, big or small.
I’m not sure what you’re struggling with, but I hope that these tips help! And I especially want you to know that you’re not alone. If you ever need anyone to talk to feel free to reach out to me or Lisa! ß Feel free to take your name out if you don’t want to include it.
About the Author:
Ivy is a wife, a creator, and a photographer, but her biggest label is that she’s a spoonie. Her blog is dedicated to all of the things that she loves, and things that she does, and how being a spoonie affects those things! She shares her projects, her feelings, and the inspirational women in her life. She believes that she is perfectly ambitious and she’d love to feature those of you that are as well! She is also a military wife currently living in Alabama. She runs her blog and her shop from home and also works on her novels in her spare time.
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