I’ve been diagnosed…now what? {#chronicallywell}

31daysButtonIf you missed day one or day two, click on the links to catch up on the series.

Once you have been given a name for the myriad of symptoms you’ve been experiencing, it is ok to be relieved.  The road to diagnosis is long and filled with setbacks, disappointments and a whole lot of waiting.  Having an answer to the “what is wrong with me” question is important.  But, moving past the diagnosis is just as important and what we will talk about today.

Here are some manageable steps to take control of the illness that has probably been controlling you as you waited for a diagnosis:

  • EDUCATE YOURSELF. Knowledge is power.  And, in this case the internet is your friend.  Make sure you visit reputable sites such as the NIH and official foundations dedicated to research for your specific illness.  Your doctor can also help you find information about your illness.  Learn as much as  you can about what you are dealing with.
  • FIND SUPPORT.  I am the first to say leaning on others is hard for me.  But, chronic illness is a marathon, not a sprint.  Throughout the years you will need people to cheer you on, advocate for you, listen to you vent and love you through the difficult times.  Invest in relationships you already have and develop new relationships with others going through similar struggles.
  • LIVE YOUR LIFE. This may seem obvious but sometimes we can become so focused on our illness that we neglect the other aspects of our lives.  Living with chronic illness is just a part of your life.  Don’t forget about and overlook other things like your marriage, friendships, hobbies, career, faith, etc.  If you allow your illness to be the central focus of your existence you will find yourself living a very narrow, often depressing life.
  • TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.  Living life with a chronic illness can be unpredictable.  While all flares can not be avoided, there are many things we can do to take control of our health.  Get enough sleep.  Stay hydrated.  Exercise.  Maintain a positive attitude. Pamper yourself.  These may seem basic but these simple things will go a long way in improving your quality of life with chronic illness.

What are some ways you take care of yourself or what can you do to start?

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