The To Do list for Chronically Ill

1. Listen to your body!
We get warning signs or we learn from experience what our body is okay with and what it’s not okay with.  We need to listen and respond accordingly.  This is really hard for me – especially with my IBS.  I see chocolate and I want to eat it. My body will freak out if I eat it. Heart burn, stomach pain,  50:50 chance of a flare up. But I can’t resist and eat it.  Instead, I should distract myself or  find an equally enjoyable snack I can eat.

2. Talk to yourself positively
I sometimes have a hard time understanding why S. loves someone who is sick.  I will never be able to bring in a sizeable income.  I won’t mother children.  Even going out to eat is a challenge.  Remembering we all have our shortcomings didn’t help.  It wasn’t like I was flawless personality-wise, but instead of harping on my weaknesses I decided to play up my strengths and become stronger where I am weak.

3. Remember we are all on our own journey
I have spent six months in physical therapy.  I just discovered what I have worked up to on my stationary bike,  S. can do though only a few weeks ago he was limping.  This makes me feel frustrated and weak,  but then I remember climbing the hill this weekend.  I didn’t have to stop once and I didn’t twitch all night.  In March walking up S.’s steep driveway where he lived before he moved in sent my body into twitching and pain.  I have come far and should feel proud. 

4. Listen to your doctor (unless you have reason not to)
Your doctor wants to help you feel better.  Some doctors are clueless or have burned out and lost compassion,  but most have not.  Follow your doctor’s orders. 

5. Focus on the now
Before I got really sick last February,  I taught teens and adults English in a classroom. I loved it! I tried to go back last summer. I was tired and just trying to get through each class.  The fun was no longer there. I had to mourn that part of my life and focus on the way my body was now.  What could i still do?  I also counted blessings I still have.


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