Upon first hearing you have a chronic condition, it is like a dense fog falls all around you. The uncertainty of what is to come obscures your visibility. You cannot see past the present moment and the present moment is filled with gray hazy thick clouds.
But over time, as the idea of being chronically ill begins to sink in, and the clouds dissipate just a little, you start to see what lays before you; a lifetime of waiting rooms, lab coats, blood tests, pharmacy visits, a life time of a random assortment of aches and pains. You withstand those dreary foggy days because you also begin to understand there are days the sun will shine and those strange symptoms you feel so often will moderate from time to time. Just like with the weather, you learn to accept what is beyond your control.
You realize life with a chronic condition is changeable. There are days of cold gloomy low clouds, days of undeniable pain, days of annoying ailments, days of unrelenting fatigue. But, there are days when the sun actually breaks through the clouds and life begins to feel warm again, days of normalcy. Most days are variable, rain in the morning giving way to a partly cloudy sky by mid afternoon and if you’re lucky just a bit of sun.
Each morning your first task is to get a weather report so you will know how to prepare for your day. You wake up and assess your physical condition. It becomes a daily habit and you’ve learned that even sunny mornings can end in a thunderstorm so you make the appropriate arrangements. You keep a bottle of pain medication near by. You keep your inhaler close at hand just in case the weather becomes fickle.
And just like the weather, you learn that while you cannot control it, you have to ready yourself for what might come. You take measures to keep yourself warm and dry on cold turbulent days by lying low and giving yourself time to rest. On those much needed sunny days, you rejoice in the beautiful blue sky and embrace the normalcy because you know storms lay ahead somewhere in your future.
You learn to live your life by what your body dictates. You prepare yourself for those ever so expected changeable conditions. You bring your umbrella, you wear your galoshes, you put on sunscreen and carry a jacket just in case foul weather rolls in.
Life as you know it becomes all about preparation for what is to come, the good days and bad. You keep your prescriptions filled. You go to your doctor appointments. You get your lab work done. You complete your scans and tests as ordered and pay all of your co-pays. You follow your doctor’s instructions. You get your rest. You find ways to reduce stress. You exercise in whatever way you can. You eat a healthy diet. You do all that is in your power to keep yourself strong, to ready yourself, so when the next storm hits, you will have the confidence to ride it out. You will survive!