Chronic Disease / Life Balance: Acceptance and Never Back Down

It’s always something.

My latest blood results show my ESR still very high, albeit it has declined a few points from last month. Small consolation, but at least I know without having to wait until my next appointment. And, at least my liver function is back to normal. I have to say this one does concern me from time to time.

However, I have more evidence of iron deficiencies as yet another measure indicates a lower low than the month before. The trend has been holding steady low throughout the course of my disease.

You’d think this talk about my health is what my life is all about, and in some ways that’s just the way it is when you’re living with a chronic condition.

My question today is: How do you manage something that permeates every facet of your life without it taking over? You know, achieve some life balance?

Some people wonder why I bother knowing these numbers and terms when my physicians went to school to learn them and that’s why I get called in to their office from time to time.

Some people caution me – and other patients – that these numbers need to be properly interpreted by an expert.

Some people want me – and other patients – to be as involved, committed, and knowledgeable as I can possibly be.

Is it any wonder I like these last people best?

But, I digress …

To achieve any sense of life balance, I think you have to accept three things:

1. Accept this is not someone else’s responsibility. It’s yours. So, no matter who you have to consult, do it. No matter what you have to read and learn, do it. No matter what you have to figure out, do it. All to the best of your ability.

2. Accept that the degree to which you are able to manage your responsibility will fluctuate, much like the status of your condition. That’s just the way it is. That means some days you’ll make progress and other days you’ll fall further behind than you’ve ever been. That sucks. Big time. Again, just the way it is, so pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and throw yourself back into the thick of it.

3. Accept the support of those around you. I’m talking about the healthcare professionals that may not always get it right, but I have to believe really care about our well-being. I’m talking about the family and friends that may not always get it right, but I have to believe really care too.

I’m also talking about the voice inside of you that’s telling you what you need to do for yourself right now.

Sometimes, it’s get off the couch and go for a walk.

Sometimes, it’s get off your feet and have a nap.

Sometimes, it’s play with your kids or grandkids because that’s what kids are for.

To answer my original question: There is no way to prevent your chronic disease from permeating all aspects of your life. By virtue of being with you forever, the disease will, from time to time, be part of all aspects of your life.

So, ask a different question: What can I do when I feel overwhelmed because my chronic disease has permeated all aspects of my life?

Now that’s a question I can answer ….

I accept the responsibility for the job of managing my disease.

I accept the support from all the people helping me manage my disease.

I accept that at the end of the day, only I can say what direction I will take with managing my disease.

Does that sound a little daunting?

Sounds  empowering to me.