Persevering with Chronic Illness

This is a guest post by NHE reader Emily Jordan.

Chronic illness feels like a giant weight added to your back, slowing down your life and forcing changes.

Persevering through the maze of experiencing chronic illness takes dedication and endurance. There are so many chemical remedies, which are helpful to the right patients. And there are natural remedies and lifestyle choices that can greatly benefit chronic illness people.

Dealing with Chronic IllnessMy journey with chronic illness began ten years ago with chronic migraine disease. The pain became a daily ritual and was life altering. It changed my course, redirecting my path. I was going in one direction, but chronic migraine disease, steered me in a sharp left.

In 2005, we lost our baby Rhyan to miscarriage. That horrible loss also led to several years of fertility doctors and medical treatments. The end result determined I had chronic illness that led to my infertility, and crushed our dreams of having children of our own. There is a wide population of women with endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome.  These illnesses cause their own complications and damage to the body.

Chronic illness can be devastating and your approach to it will greatly affect your health. An attitude of defeat and succumbing to your illness has been found to increase symptoms. Chronic illness needs to be viewed as a marathon, a war and not a short battle. Fighting for your best health can really make a difference in quality of life. I have had to make some adjustments as to what I am able to handle or what “normal” is for me. But I continue to take care of myself, my family, and fight for our best life.

It is easy to get caught up in the world of being a patient.  Living in pain entangles your mind and body. The medical field absorbs your time and thoughts. Is this doctor the best, will the medication work, what is causing my pain today? Finding relief becomes an all engrossing activity. However, this behavior does not encourage good health. Finding outside hobbies encourages happiness and relaxation. Diverting your thoughts to new activities and interests can deflect or even ease pain by relaxing and finding joy.

Prescription medications have a great place in the medical field and are necessary for a lot of ailments. But loading your system with chemicals can sometimes lead to complications and side effects.  I have tried to surround myself with doctors that suggest natural remedies like vitamins and physical therapy, before prescribing medications. I am not a doctor, please seek medical attention for your chronic illness. Routine maintenance is key to staying healthy with ongoing health issues. Personally, I take a couple prescription medications to help with my chronic pain and illness. But I have avoided additional medications by seeking lifestyle alternatives and working hard at my health.

There are some natural approaches to lifestyle that can help avoid aggravation of chronic illness. Food, environment and routine are so important to a chronic illness person. And thankfully these are elements that we have some control over.

Look at the food in your pantry or what you eat on a regular basis. Chronic illness is irritated by preservatives and sugars. Reading labels on packaging becomes second nature. I try to avoid foods with ingredients that I cannot pronounce, it is usually something I don’t want in my body. Fresh foods have always made me feel my best. Following a strict diet is part of routine maintenance for chronic illness and can help to avoid deterioration or worsening symptoms.

The environment affecting chronic illness involves smell, light and temperature. I prefer a dimly lit home, a cozy area over bright lights. Energy efficient light bulbs give off a dimmer glow and have worked well for chronic migraine disease. To avoid toxins and chemical scents, I am picky about the cleaning agents used in my environment. Natural soaps and cleaners are a wonderful choice for chronic illness people. Their scent is natural and they will not aggravate skin. The third factor in the environment is temperature, which affects most chronic illness sufferers. Cold and catching a chill often sets off chronic pain. Regulating the environment of a chronic illness person alleviates a number of symptoms.

Often chronic illness people thrive on routine and structure. Daily schedules facilitate diet, exercise and maintaining health. Sticking to a pattern of natural choices can stave off symptoms and even make progress towards better health.  Irregular patterns do not mix well with the chronic illness person as we get thrown off our natural choices and make poor decisions which irritate our symptoms.

My journey with chronic illness has been search for natural remedies and lifestyle choices that will alleviate symptoms and benefit my health. Perseverance in seeking healthy choices has been my greatest choice.

Photo by olivcris


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