There are many frightening aspects of living with multiple chronic illnesses. What will my future look like? How will I get through today or tomorrow? How much pain can I withstand? How long will this flare last? Is this as good as it gets? How long will my PsA remain in remission? How do I make plans when I never know which part of my body is going to act up? These are a just a few fears that swirl about my mind, but I must be very cautious as to not allow them to keep me from living.
Focusing on my fears creates a barrier between me and the life I should be living. There have been many times when my fears of the future have kept me from living in the now, from enjoying time with family and friends or participating in activities that I was able to do. I feared the fallout from a day of fun. I feared flaring while away from home. Typically, when we run across a road block, there is a detour sign clearly showing us an alternative route. For me, fear hides the detour signs. Not only do I not see them, I can’t even grasp the concept that there is another path. The longer I focus on my fears the larger the blockades become and occasionally they topple on top of me.
To avoid being crushed by my fears or to spend my life surrounded by barriers, I had to face them head on. I don’t have a crystal ball to show me what the future holds, I plan for what I can and accept that things could change at any moment. I had to let go of fears that I couldn’t control, which wasn’t easy being that I am a bit of a control freak. In order to satisfy my controlling desires and to decrease how often I felt defeated whenever I encountered a blockade, I began creating multiple detours for every scenario that I could imagine before turning down that road. Instead of experiencing shock or feeling defeated when my body fails me, my brain turns the page and presents plan B. If plan B fails I go to plan C and so on and so on. I can’t plan for every scenario, but preparing for multiple outcomes extends my time out and reduces the odds of each outing from becoming disastrous. I may not be able to rid my body of my chronic illnesses, but I can kick the fears they incite to the curb. I plan to enjoy this ride we call life, even if it means traveling down a road less traveled.