I love life’s little challenges. I love problem solving and turning obstacles into opportunities.
I love putting a positive spin on what could otherwise be a negative experience. I’ve always done this, both in my personal and professional life.
So, chronic disease really wasn’t going to change my approach to finding a way to overcome an obstacle. It’s just another challenge. Right?
Well, not entirely right! It’s probably one of the more difficult challenges life has thrown at me, and it often requires “out of the box” strategies.
One Thing After Another
When I can stick to what I call my “Chronic Disease Management Plan,” life has a stable flow despite the unpredictable nature of my disease.
The flow consists of routine activities every day, including a pattern of rest, activities, and rest. It’s pretty simple. It works for me. It’s limited physically, and it’s a home bound routine, but as I’ve written about many times, I’m at peace with it, and I’ve accepted this new way of life.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much I try and pace activity and rest, there will be periods of time when circumstances are outside of my control.
I’ve had a fortnight of one thing after another coming my way. These things weren’t planned and couldn’t be avoided.
It was like looking at an avalanche moving with full force towards me, knowing I needed to run in the opposite direction, but being stuck with legs that wouldn’t and couldn’t move fast enough.
Facing The Avalanche
I have learned over the years that when things are really outside of your control, you simply have to deal with them as best you can. You have to face the situation and try to move through it while constantly hoping and praying a crisis doesn’t eventuate. A crisis that could quite likely land you in the hospital.
My avalanche included a dental crown falling out, which resulted in a necessary urgent dentist appointment. Thankfully, my crown could be re cemented, but an hour in the chair was so taxing on me physically. Especially when you consider I was only 8 weeks post a major laparotomy surgery and stoma re-siting.
On top of the dentist crisis, my husband also had some serious health issues requiring some tests and medical appointments. Thankfully, we were able to get him on a treatment/maintenance plan, but it added to our growing exhaustion.
We thought that was the end of it, but all of a sudden, my blood pressure was 210/120, I was shivering and shaking and felt so unwell. I should have gone to the hospital, but I always feel I get kidnapped by my specialists once I’m in there. I spend most of my time planning a way of escape.
My weekly registered nurse visit was timely. She wanted me to ring my GP and request blood cultures and septic screens. I did get a phone appointment the following day with my doctor. He prescribed antibiotics and ordered the suggested blood tests.
The antibiotics have started to stabilise my blood pressure to some degree, but 4 days on, and I’m not out of the woods yet. I won’t get my full blood culture test results until next week.
The problem with chronic disease is, you can’t just catchup after a glitch in your routine. Believe me I’ve tried. I’ve often thought one day of complete rest will make all the difference.
Let’s be realistic one day of rest when chronically ill, doesn’t really do much at all.
Drawing A Line In The Sand
At some point, once the avalanche of unplanned and unavoidable activities are over, you have to fully assess the damage.
I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to doing this. I’ve accepted my daily rest periods are now part of my life but I hate having to stop completely.
So, my initial strategy was to reinstate my “Chronic Disease Management Plan” and return to my normal daily routine.
Ha…well that clearly wasn’t going to work.
So my next step was to try increasing the length of my rest periods for a couple of days.
No, this didn’t work either.
It was time to draw the line in the sand. Time to wave the white flag and retreat…literally!
I’m Sorry, Today Is Cancelled
I had some other appointments looming as a new week approached and I could feel my avalanche crisis beginning to gain further momentum.
I began juggling my daily schedule to wake up later, go to bed earlier, increase pain medication, put all household tasks on hold.
All were bandaid solutions and not the strategy I needed to employ to rectify my situation and get back to my base disease level of operandi.
So I decided I needed a new strategy, what I called my “well-being” strategy. It was simple, cancel my week, clear the calendar, and allow each day to be completely free. Free from any pressure, commitments, or plans of any kind that hindered my well-being.
That meant cancelling my cleaner, my podiatrist, my volunteering commitments. I was then free to have a phone chat with my GP, and I kept my home nurse visit as she was integral to my well-being.
What a relief!
As I sat in my armchair, letting the fact I now had the gift of time waft over me, it became clear what I needed to do ongoing.
I needed to cancel days. Do nothing, plan nothing, just withdraw.
Assessing My Priorities
I also realised I needed to reassess all my volunteering commitments. It was suddenly very clear that I had taken too much on over the past few years with online volunteering. As I looked at my newer commitments and my original passions of my support forum, my book, my blog, my podcast and my work with Arthritis Queensland, I realised the newer commitments were not right for me. I was allowing them to take my energy away from the older commitments, which were still my passion, my purpose, and my calling.
I loved the newer commitments, but it was right for me to withdraw regrettably, which I promptly did. There was no time to second guess myself or procrastinate with my decision. Not if I was serious about my well-being strategy.
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
There is always the temptation, when appointments or commitments are cancelled, to fill the time with other things. I know I can’t, even though my head is always full of great ideas. My body is screaming at me. I have to listen to it.
I chose to be sensible. Well, I like to think I chose but in actual fact I really had no choice.
So if your life has become too crazy, too busy, and your disease is flaring out of control, it’s really simple….
Cancel the day, cancel a few days….Just remember it’s important to take time to look after yourself.
Take the time you need to recover and get back on track.
Most importantly, please don’t feel guilty about cancelling the day or ongoing commitments that are no longer right for you. It’s not your fault. You are absolutely doing the right thing to make necessary changes.
It’s the one “Chronic Illness Non Negotiable Rule”…..Look After Yourself!!
If you would like an audible version of my blog, please check out my Podcast, Medical Musings With Sam
Medical Musings with Friends
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
My book “My Medical Musings”, is published by Imaginewe Publishers and available now to purchase as a paperback or e-book.
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I’m also a contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I’m a member of the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network the Grace Girls Facebook Group and the Showered In Grace Group
One thought on “Cancel The Day, Cancel a Few Days….Just Remember It’s Important To Take Time To Look After Yourself.”
I have been canceling tomorrow ever sense yesterday. Or is it that I canceled today next week? No, no, that was tomorrow next Tuesday, but not Wednesday on Thursday because that is silly. 🙂
Sounds like you had a lot going on. Thankful at my house for the lovely Mrs. Sheryl. She can at least decide when to call it quits. Which usually after the next time i show up for Tuesday on Friday.