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What Makes Me Good At Having A Chronic Illness?

I have had psoriatic disease for six decades, so I’ve had time to get it right. There is a whole list of things I can’t do because of my illness. It’s easy to make that list. We always think about what we have lost along the way. Think about it, we can give ourselves a shot without blinking and keep our cool while waiting in a waiting room for hours.

How did I become my own advocate?

Becoming my own best advocate was my number one for me. I used to hide in a corner and cry for years. It was good to feel like a superwoman when I started questioning my doctor about my medications that weren’t working.

One of the best things I do is research as much as possible. You must learn as much as you can and join support groups. We have to be good listeners as advocates too.

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What did I change about my lifestyle?

I used to think I was a loser because I couldn’t do some things that my friend could. I had to start empowering myself, so I decided to make goals.

How did I practice weight management?

When you lay around and don’t do anything, guess what happens? You gain weight. I decided to make some lifestyle changes. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. My doctor told me I was in the obese range, so I decided to lose weight. I started out doing a couple of days a week for 20 to 30 minutes. I am now down 60 pounds.

What do I consume?

Of course, we learn how to eat foods that won’t make us flare and keep our inflammation under control. I was never much of a water drinker, but this was something that I picked up and I loved it. Trust me and listen to your body when you are in pain.

When do I rest?

If we don’t know anything else, we know about planning. We have to plan our medications, plan our activities, and even plan when to rest. My advice is to get as much rest as possible. Our illness takes a lot out of us.

How has it impacted me socially and emotionally?

I never cared to be around people, so I knew my way in and my way out in a jiffy. When I realized I wasn’t alone on this journey, I became kinder to others and did not take people for granted. No one knows how much pain we are in. There may be days I can’t come to see you, but I can pick up the phone and see how you are doing. 

Growing up I wanted a big house and nice clothes. I thought these things would make you happy. As I got older, I learned better. Material things don’t make you happy. Being happy and finding joy is the way to go.

There are days that I have found it easy to get mad. I didn’t know how to fit my illness into my life. I started with 1 or 2 illnesses and now I have 5. I had to accept the fact that I have several chronic illnesses. What I did learn was that yes, I did accept my illness, but that doesn’t make it go away. But I did learn the power of acceptance. We are all in this together.

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