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Making up for Lost Time

Depending on when this article is published I will either be preparing to or have already celebrated my 50th birthday. This milestone feels so surreal, I mean seriously, how the heck did this happen? I feel so much younger, but the numbers don’t lie, I am 50!!! So why don’t I feel like it?

Years lost due to chronic PsA pain

Psoriatic arthritis and my other chronic illnesses did more than inflict pain on my body. It stole moments, days, weeks, months, and years of my life. There are periods between the ages of 31-44 that I am unable to recall participating in more than one or two events. This isn’t a case of old lady brain; it is because I truly didn’t do anything worth remembering. Doctor visits, late nights at the emergency room, and hospital stays took up a lot of my time. Minus a few family outings, the rest of my time was spent recovering or laying in bed crying from the agonizing pain I was experiencing. I can remember talking with friends, listening to them talk about everything they had done in the past week and thinking holy crap, I haven’t even done that much in the past year!!! If I were to add up what I did throughout those 13 years, they still wouldn’t compare to one year’s worth of activity of the average person of that age. When you look at like that, I lost a dozen years of my life to chronic pain and illnesses!!!

Getting a second chance

My mind isn’t the only thing that feels younger; my body doesn’t feel as old as the calendar says either. It did two years ago, but that was before making some major changes. The quality of my life has improved significantly in the past few years. There wasn’t any one thing that made it happen, but instead the result of many different actions. Each one has gifted me with less time spent in bed and more time living out my dreams. Walks along the shore when I was 41 or a day on my feet at Disneyland when I was 39 were not possible. Today, I am doing just that and more. I feel like I have been given a second chance to do everything that I missed out on during my lost years.

Making lifestyle changes

This is a gift that I will never take for granted. Although I do push my body at times, I am respectful of its boundaries and have learned to give rest when it needs it. I am eating cleaner, avoiding what I know will trigger inflammation and pain, exercise to keep my heart healthy, and I quit smoking. I lost too much time and refuse to lose any more. I don’t see myself as over the hill or ready to start slowing down. For me, turning 50 is just the beginning of a new and awesome adventure.

Has your chronic illness stolen years of your life? Do you feel younger than you are or do you feel like you’ve aged because of your illness?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.