Opening one eye with effort, the fatigue weighs heavy and I shut that eye and hit "snooze." It seems like only seconds when the alarm goes off again, and I feel the joint aches as I attempt to roll out of bed. Sigh. I sit on the side of the bed getting my bearings, thinking about what's on my agenda for the day, and how much of that can I actually accomplish. Seems overwhelming. As I shuffle into the bathroom and automatically go through my morning (or sometimes afternoon) routine, my throbbing head tells me a "doozy" of a headache is coming on.
For many of us who suffer with chronic illnesses, this is a typical start to our days. Different symptoms and a different routine, but the struggle is the same. You don’t see that struggle because by the time you see us, we’ve pushed ourselves through a shower (or freshening up if a shower is too much), breakfast, taking handfuls of meds, getting dressed, and putting a smile on our face to show you we’re “okay.”
Is this what comes to mind when you hear the term, “chronic illness?” After you read this post, please comment on what came to your mind below.
The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics defines chronic illness or disease as a disease lasting three months or longer. This short video states what the CDC says about chronic disease:
Here’s what those of us suffering with chronic illness say:
How do I know? I have three chronic illnesses: Ulcerative colitis, Endometriosis, and Persistent Lyme disease. I’ve had the first two for 35 years and the Lyme disease since 2007. My husband was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome over 30 years ago. He also has Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), Selective IgA Deficiency, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Both of our grown children have Crohn’s disease. Collectively, our family has over 35 years experience diagnosing, treating, and living with multiple chronic illnesses.
The main purpose of this blog is to give HOPE to those who suffer and struggle with chronic illness, especially “controversial” illnesses such as Chronic/Persistent Lyme Disease, Endometriosis, Mold Toxicity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). To bring you to a place where you are not defined by your illness, your pain, your limitations. I am a “type A” active extrovert whose mind overflows with ideas daily…some crazy but many with potential. I love being busy and active, especially now that I’m retired. Persistent Lyme disease especially can knock me off my feet with little notice, and then my plans “go in the toilet” for at least a few days. But there is still HOPE.
HOPE…in and through chronic illness.
HOPE…to get through the horrible pain.
HOPE…to get through the loneliness and misunderstanding.
HOPE…to have your spouse/partner or friend love you enough to hold you, stay by your side, and support you, even if they don’t understand.
HOPE…through a zillion lab tests, xrays, doctors’ appointments, medications.
HOPE…through sleepless nights, even though your body is exhausted and fatigued.
HOW? Crawling into the lap of Jesus, sometimes crying and sobbing, saying I can’t do this, I can’t stand this and I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired! Finding others who share your illness or experience so you don’t feel so isolated. Focusing on how I can reach out and help others to take the focus off myself. Reading and researching. Praying.
My illnesses have humbled me and made me realize I’m not in control and can’t do life on my own. Hang in there with me, as I hope to share with you not only my journey with chronic illness, but my experience turning my pain, disappointments, and dashed dreams over to God. And living with HOPE
You can also read past blog posts where I share when and how I’ve found hope to continue on with chronic illnesses.
This is Jackie…living with #hopethroughchronicillness