Chronic Illness and Me

Most people in the world are normal and for the most part healthy. They don’t have aches and pains that never go away. They don’t have breathing issues or the ability to catch almost every virus that comes their way. I am happy for them as I would never wish my life on anyone.

Unfortunately, there are those in the world that have these issues and are never quite understood unless it can be quantified and even then it isn’t always understood by the willfully ignorant or government bureaucrats.

For those with chronic illness both diagnosed and non-diagnosed everyday chores and errands can be a dance of can I do this and should I do this? Because just because we can do something doesn’t mean we don’t pay for it later for sometimes days when we do it. I’ve had to learn to live with this over the years since I had Cancer. Don’t get me wrong. I had issues before I survived Cancer but since the treatments things have seemed to get worse both physically and mentally.

Can I go grocery shopping for the things the house needs? Is the first question. Then I ask all the tiny ones like: Am I fatigued? Does my back hurt too much? Can I get away with putting it off for a day I feel better? All these questions need to be answered before I can judge on this simple task. Sometimes even showering or taking the trash out has to be put off because I feel poorly. This causes judgement from people who don’t know my situation. They judge because my hair is dirty or because the yard around my house is unkempt not knowing that I’m not able to do these things that they deem normal, important, or necessary like they do. That I would rather not spend energy fighting back pain from various areas and trying to keep my spirits up when I would rather just go back to bed for a little while. Though laying in bed can cause pain if I do it for too long as well.

It always amazes me to watch normal people working out, working at a job, and having social interactions. It also causes a yearning. A wish that I could be normal like them. But, the knowledge that I can’t no matter how hard I try is frustrating. It isn’t because I am lazy, it isn’t because I am already overweight/out of shape, it isn’t because I don’t have the drive to change. It is literally because I can’t.

I’ll start to work out with the help of a physical therapy place only for something else to go wrong and I have to stop for a week or more. Shoulder dislocation while I was sleeping, a bad cold that messes up my breathing, a pulled muscle from something as simple as standing up to quick, etc.

I can’t work a normal job because my anxiety, stress, and over all health suffer from what is considered a normal workplace environment, office politics, social maneuvering, competition for advancement. These are all things that I can’t handle. I barely handled them before I got Cancer and when I tried to go back to work after it was hell. All the anxiety and stress caused me to get sick more often and worse than before combined with the long term effects of the Cancer treatments. This made it so that I was calling out sick more often to the point that my last place of employment stopped excepting even doctor’s notes as excuses from me for missing work or leaving early when I tried to work through being sick.

Society needs to learn to be more understanding of hidden disabilities and illnesses.

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