5 lessons I learned growing up with chronic illness

I have grown up with chronic illness and chronic pain. It has some disadvantages but I firmly believe that I am lucky to have the extra character builders. I try to live life wholly and humorously. Here’s five lessons I’ve picked up in my short twenty three years:

1) Always wear clean underwear. Preferably cute ones. You never know when you will get sick and end up at urgent care or the Emergency room and have to put on a gown.

2) Timing is everything. Try to plan your most strenuous activities during your most productive time of the day. Eleven to one is my most productive time of the day. Mainly, I think because I prefer to sleep until ten a.m. Then, it takes me at least an hour to get motivated and able to move.

3) Self acceptance – it’s okay to have limits. You aren’t perfect and neither is the Barbie standing beside you in the elevator. Do not become a recluse. You have a chronic condition not a death sentence. That is no way to live your life. Just limit your productiveness and your rest. It’s a balancing act. Be flexible. You can either let it challenge you to be more or let it define you. I always love a good challenge.

4) Strength. You never know how strong you are until strong is the only option. That is a cliche, but it’s cliche for a reason. It’s true. When your body protest any and all movement but your furbaby keeps whining to go out side and even comes to lick your cheek – you get your butt out of bed no matter how hard it is and let the damn dog out. If you are lucky, like me, she will gladly assist you in getting up from any position. My chow has taught herself how to be my therapy dog. However, I’m pretty sure it’s just a survival thing on her part. I love it regardless.

5) You will find out who your real friends are, who is fake,or ones that simply can’t handle what it entails to be your friend. Either way, it helps with the filtration system. Being chronically ill or in chronic pain really puts a damper on your social life and it is inevitable that you will cancel, probably multiple times, or have to reschedule for the fourth time this month. They will either wait patiently or come to you. I love my friends, you guys rock!

I am grateful for the challenges and the curve balls life has thrown me. There is never a dull moment. Keep your head up!!

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