The other day I had one of my many doctor’s appointments. I left feeling defeated. I have been battling chronic health problems my entire adult life. While I continue to keep my health manageable, I have days that are unbearable. I have moments where I wish I could just feel good. That I would just wake up feeling refreshed. That I had less pain to do the things I want to do. That I could take my kids on a new adventure whenever we wanted and not have to worry about overdoing it and flaring up a migraine or fibromyalgia. There are so many things that I wish people that are healthy could understand about living with a chronic health condition. To help you understand my world and those like me who fight chronic invisible illnesses daily, here is a peek into my life.
I average 5 appointments to help keep my conditions under control each month. Some months I have more, but never less than 3. I also see a physical therapist at least 2-3 times a month and when my PTSD and anxiety spiral out of control, I can add in a couple appointments with my therapist in there too. Every few months I tend to have some kind of procedure or injections in the areas of my body that the pain gets to be more than I can bare. This year I would say this has been about every other month.
This means we are constantly juggling schedules with my husband so he can help me out with our 3 young children. On the days he can’t leave work, I have to find child care or reschedule, and hope that I can still get in that month. I have a couple doctors who are cool with me bringing my crazy bunch of kids along, but some appointments I don’t want them to come along. I don’t want them to worry about my health and if I am doing physical therapy or getting injections I can’t watch them as I am getting worked on.
On a daily basis I take 4 prescription medications. I also take 4 over the counter supplemental pills each day too. That is just my daily meds. I have 8 additional prescription meds (6 in pill form, 2 in a topical cream and gel for pain) on hand that I can take if and when I have a fibromyalgia flare up, a migraine, an anxiety attack, or pain from a severely slipped disc in my neck. A few I have to make sure I never take together. A few I have to make sure I don’t take more than twice a week. I basically have to keep a journal on the bad days (or weeks) of what I took and when so I can keep it all straight.
I have really good days and I have really bad days. On the really good days I have to be very careful I don’t over do it because it can send me into a huge pain flare up. I am over all happy with my life. I have to balance what I can handle with my chronic conditions and sometimes it is really hard to do. Sometimes it is so overwhelming, and it causes depression and frustration. The lack of understanding that surrounds invisible illnesses makes life harder too. I have lost jobs over this. I have had to put my life on hold to recover. My house is more often chaos than clean.
If you have your health be grateful, it is one of the most valuable things you may have. Please don’t discredit someone’s pain, anxiety, depression, etc because you can’t imagine that it is really that bad. Trust me when I say there are days when it is horrible. When the pain is at 7 or 8 on the pain scale. When I take seriously strong medication and is doesn’t even put a dent in the pain. Or when my anxiety is spiraling and I need to be away from the world to recharge. This is my life, whether you can understand it or not.