With a normal illness, you have it cured and move on. With chronic illness, you can only treat symptoms, and a lot of your health choices will be less getting rid of symptoms and more like choosing new ones. Here’s a few from my life.
- With IBS, I have a very fluctuating appetite. Usually this just means being very hungry one day and not wanting to eat a thing the next. But following an oral surgery, I found I had no appetite at all and lost a scary amount of weight. I’m already naturally petite, but my eyes sunk in and well, I actually started looking sick. So I had to force myself in to a better diet, but I also started eating on any and every impulse I had. If I ever even sort of wanted a snack, I’d eat a big one. I kept food around at all times. I got up to healthy weight after a few months, but my already failing teeth started sustaining major damage. They say that having lots of small meals and grazing is good for you, but believe me, it’s not good for your teeth! I got my healthy body back, but I got a few new fillings too.
- Being active is always a healthy thing to do, but with chronic illness and specifically chronic pain, light exercise can wipe me out for the rest of the day. Does it even count as being “active” if you have to spend the rest of the day on the couch?
- But resting is just as bad! I always try to listen to my body when it insists on resting. It helps so much with chronic pain and IBS. But resting also tends to make my back ache from cuddling up and getting comfy. Chronic pain may be at bay, but I just create new pain for later!
- The easiest treatment for endo symptoms are prescription pain meds. I’ve always been
overlyvery cautious about proper use and not becoming addicted or overdosing. But while medication might help me get through a day of work, I’m not doing my organs any favors in the long run. And on top of that, I recently learned that hydrocodone, my medicine, WEAKENS YOUR TEETH. My poor teeth, they just don’t stand a chance do they? I’m really not exaggerating when I say I have more fillings than actual teeth in my mouth at this point. And as a chronic pain sufferer, I have a high tolerance for pain, but tooth pain is unbearable.
- Recently I’ve been learning all the fun facts about the two kinds of fiber. With any stomach problem, most doctors will recommend eating more fiber, but how can that help with constipation AND diarrhea? It won’t. There are two kinds of fiber, one that treats each. Ideally, one would live in a perfect balance between the two, thus reaching the poop equivalent of enlightenment. But, if you’re like me, you figured this out while already, *ahem* unbalanced. So you ate one kind of fiber. Over-corrected. Ate the other kind. Over-corrected. And now spend a very stressful tightrope walk hopping from yin to yang, so to speak. This is not fun.
Ah, geeze. Too much yang, not enough yin.
What about you? What vicious cycles are you running these days?