Living life with chronic illnesses is scary and unpredictable. You never know what the day has in store for you and I know that I am not guaranteed to see tomorrow. I try to live in the present and take it one step, one day at a time. I often get knocked to my knees but I continue to push forward. As long as I move forward, I am winning and I am a champion!
For far too many worldwide, this is the unfortunate reality and these are the questions that go through any chronically ill person’s head at any given time on any given day.
Will you be able to walk? Do you need your crutches or even your wheelchair? Are your joints in place or do you need to wear braces? How well did you sleep last night? Can you safely do what you hoped to do? If not, the day is either wasted or someone will have to help you. Are your medications working? Are they making you extra tired? Are you having any side effects? If you do, you won’t be able to drive. Are your feet swollen? Do you shoes fit or do you need to wear your walking boots instead?
Are your fingers stiff and swollen? Forget trying to type on a computer. That will dictate how you get dressed and whether that jacket will be zipped up. T-shirt versus a button down shirt. Jeans versus yoga pants or leggings. Sneakers or slip on shoes? Do you have a headache? You’ll have to get dressed in the dark because the light hurts your eyes and listening to music is out of the question. Is your brain foggy? Well, you better hope you don’t have an exam or homework. Is your hand cramped? Don’t bother trying to write. Is your back spasming? That will determine whether you walk, stand, sit, or lay down in bed and what you are capable of doing today. Are your arms and hands numb? Good luck because you really can’t do anything until it subsides.
Can you imagine? Most people can’t. The best way to help a chronically ill individual is to be there for them. Be that listening ear when they need to vent. Be that person with a free hand to squeeze when the pain becomes unbearable. Be that person they can count on for a gentle hug. Send them a card or a message of support. It’s the little things from our cheering sections that encourage us to fight on. “Keep your chin up and charge the mountain!”