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Friday, June 27, 2014

GRAPHIC: You can live with chronic illness and be...

You can live with chronic illness and be happy
or you can live with chronic illness and be angry.
Either way, you're still going to be living with chronic illness.
(Click on image to enlarge.)



I have been struggling lately with more symptoms than usual.

First I got some nasty stomach virus on Mother's Day that landed me in the ER with uncontrollable vomiting and the need for IV fluids and anti-nausea medications.

Then, a week later, a very nasty pain flare-up began. I've been living with a higher than normal pain level and numbness and tingling in my right hand for the last 5+ weeks.  Yesterday I went for an EMG and nerve conduction study.  Hopefully it will shed some light on whether I have a pinched nerve and where exactly it is being pinched: my elbow, my shoulder or my neck.

Between all the pain and other symptoms, the medications I have been taking to manage my pain and fatigue from being in more pain, I haven't been posting here or on the Oh My Aches and Pains! Facebook page. But I have been thinking about how much I miss regular blogging and what a struggle it has been to get back into a regular posting groove.

But I will do it.  I will get there....eventually.

For today, I offer this graphic I created which illustrates my philosophy for living my life with chronic illness.  This is my secret, my tool for making a real life possible despite chronic illness.

I've been trying to explain this concept to a healthy friend of mine and they're having trouble understanding this.

"You're sick," they say, "so how can you be happy about that?"

"Well, I'm not happy about it, but I don't let it get in the way of being happy about being alive and being happy about the good things in my life."

"But you're sick," they continue.  "Do you really have good things in your life?  Your chronic illness seems to have taken a lot of those good things away...."

"Yes, but I am finding new things to be happy about even though I am sick," I reply.

They scratch their head and look puzzled.  To them, being sick means being unhappy, so they just don't get where I am coming from.  Lucky them for not having to have to understand this!

Perhaps you my readers can leave me a few notes in the comment section below with some alternative ways of explain to someone healthy how it is possible to be sick and happy at the same time.




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8 comments

Anonymous said...

I don't get sick often (I get a cold or flu once every 5 years or so) but I do have a problem with monthly cramps which pretty much incapacitate me for a few days during which I complain A LOT. I know it doesn't come close to the kind of pain you experience every day and I feel like a wimp for it.

But, I was reading the young adult bestselling novel "The Fault in Our Stars" last night (about young adults living with cancer), and one of the characters' mother has this philosophy that without knowing pain you can't appreciate true happiness.

I think that having to live with such awful pain must make you more appreciative of the world and everything you are able to do. I can see from your Facebook posts how you appreciate a lot of things that most people take for granted -- your pets, garden, husband, takeout, watching sports, etc. -- and that's probably why you're happy.

You're a great example for everyone, Selena!

Sue Vickers said...

Hi Selena,
I understand you and know exactly what you mean. I have fibro and other health issues. Also, a pinched sciatica nerve since February. The pain was unbearable for awhile, now its annoying. I choose to count my blessings and be happy. I hope its nothing serious and you feel better soon.
Sue

Cranky Fibro Girl said...

This has been a big learning curve for me, to be able to get to the place that my coach/therapist calls "both/and". As in, I've been in a pain flare-up for too many days, AND I'm excited because I just got my new issue of People Magazine.

The both/and thing is definitely a muscle I have to practice every day.

Margaret Polino Nicholas said...

Hi Selena , long time since I talked to you. So sorry you are having some difficulties. I can't explain it to a well person either?
Take care and talk soon. Your old friend Margee

FRIED PICKLES said...

Great blog! I just started my own fibromyalgia blog :) Excited to be your newest follower!

-Saralyn

http://friedpicklesblog.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

While you know very well all the struggles we face both physically and emotionally, and with the pain and sometimes the frustration and the fatigue... the blessing for me and it comes from my heart is having met close friends, true friends, like you and a few others that I trust and love. I don't think other people can understand this, but those of us in the group do. I'm grateful for those friends.love, Laurie

Tabitha Ryan said...

I think this wonderful lady who doesn't have it but totally get it said it perfectly!!

"But, I was reading the young adult bestselling novel "The Fault in Our Stars" last night (about young adults living with cancer), and one of the characters' mother has this philosophy that without knowing pain you can't appreciate true happiness.

I think that having to live with such awful pain must make you more appreciative of the world and everything you are able to do."

Bravo!!

vickycat said...

Hi Selena. Be careful. When my husband gets tingling or numbness going down his arms, there was always something wrong with his neck. Mention this to your doctor, it might be helpful.Hope you feel better!