Okay so I know this is a little late, but here is my 2nd Quarter Update. Since the end of May I have been in kind of a slump. It started with a nice vacation to the beach, a wonderful week off from work. When life returned to normal I couldn’t get motivated to do anything. It rained for about the next two weeks and my joints were hurting bad. I didn’t want to write, go to Yoga and I abandoned my 100 day project. I didn’t have energy for any activities which I feel I should be doing almost daily. After a few weeks I decided I needed to snap out of the slump. I picked up a book I had purchased back in December and started to read. It is called “Goliath Must Fall, Winning the Battle Against Your Giants” by Louie Gigilo.
The book discusses how we need to focus on Jesus in order to win the battle over the giants of fear, rejection, addition, anger and comfort. Comfort. Well that battle sounds familiar. Is that what I have been experiencing recently? It is much easier to just sit and watch TV every night after work that it is to be productive by writing in my blog, reading the Bible or exercising. It is understandable that during the times I have flair ups of my illnesses that I would stop certain activities to conserve energy. The problem is not being able to go back to these activities when the flair up passes. That is where I am right now. But, if I stay in this place of comfort I am not following the purpose God wants me to fulfill. By not taking care of my body, I am not allowing myself to function properly. If my body is not functioning properly, I am not motivated to write in my blog which helps others. I also am not studying God’s word to share with others or praying for others needs. In order to help others I need to care for myself first; therefore, I need to step out of comfort and be aligned with God.
An idea I came up with was to make a vision board. The board will display all the goals I have for caring for myself which in turn allows me to help others. By having a visual tool, I will be reminded constantly of the key concepts I wish to accomplish. Hopefully the motivation to actually do the activities will follow. What tools do you use to motivate yourself?
Here are some photos of my vision board:
For those who live with chronic illness it is sometimes difficult to accomplish daily activities such as cooking, cleaning etc. With Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, my body cannot take too many events in the same day. One technique that can be used is Pacing. For me this means limiting the number of deeds done in a day. For instance, if I know I am going on an outing with my husband I will cook the day before so I don’t have to cook after the outing.
This has lead me to the idea of the Take 10 Plan. If one breaks down activities into 10 minute increments it makes one more productive. Instead of cleaning the whole house in one day I concentrate on a room per day. I will take 10 minutes to clean the bathroom sinks then go back later and take 10 minutes or so to clean the shower, etc. By splitting up the tasks it helps prevent my body from getting worn out while still getting chores done. I apply this to washing clothes as well. I put in a smaller load of laundry so it takes less time to fold the load. This means I have to wash more loads but it lessens the movement I need to do at one time. This allows me to rest in between creating more rest time but still allowing productivity. I think this technique is an excellent way to get things done without sacrificing health.
What can you do in 10 minutes?
Well, here we are finishing the first quarter of 2018. Things are so good so far.
Sorry I have slacked off on blog posting this year. Speaking of the blog, today is my four year Blogiversary and last month was my 100th blog post. I can’t believe I have maintained this task for so long! Usually I will start a hobby and after a month or so I pass on to something else. I think though the blog is more than a hobby, it is therapy to me. Initially I thought this blog was going to be about the more medical aspect of my illnesses but it has become more about the emotional part of dealing with chronic illness. It has helped me explore my true feelings about my life and helped me embrace my challenges.
Some people may wonder why I want to share the somewhat intimate details of my health issues with everyone on the Internet. I think it is important to share one’s experiences with others because being open with ones’ struggles can help others going through similar situations. It creates a support system to engage the people with the issues to take action regarding their condition. In addition, I think sharing with others educates the public on how issues affect inflicted individuals. This is not to gain pity but to gain understanding of the difficulties others face and encourages people to help each another. God created man and women to create a community. Though community we can support each other to overcome any adversity.
In a recent blog post, Maintaining Sanity after Psychosis, I shared about my Depression with Psychosis. I was afraid I was about to break down again. Since then, I have focused on staying engaged in activities so I started taking Yoga classes. By keeping myself involved in activities I have gotten past my feelings of a breakdown. The last couple of weeks I was sick and then I was out of town so I missed a few Yoga classes. I actually felt sad about not going. This week I am back to my schedule and I can’t wait for the session tomorrow!
I have discovered that writing these quarterly updates keeps me more focused on my goals. It allows me to see my progress. For quite a while my goal has been to incorporate regular exercise in my daily activities. I am looking forward to next quarter as I move towards attaining that goal.
I recently read the blog post “How to Have a Healthy Relationship with your Body, Even with Chronic Illness” written by Sheryl Chan of The Chronic Voice (https://www.achronicvoice.com/2018/02/05/healthy-relationship-body-chronic-illness/). Sheryl explored the idea that the relationship we have with our bodies echoes the relationship we have with other people. This gave me a new perspective on my journey of maintaining a balanced life with chronic illnesses.
As I recall from a Human Development class I took in college, the components of a healthy relationship are: trust, open communication, intimacy, commitment, and respect. These factors can be applied to how the conscious mind works with the physical body.
- Trust – This is a difficult element for one with Chronic Illness. For example, in a normal body when one eats carbohydrates the pancreas secretes insulin to off-set the increase in blood sugar to keep the blood sugar stable. In my case with Diabetes, my body does not secrete insulin. I need to inject insulin in my body so my blood sugar will stay stable. Therefore, my body is dependent on me to supply its needs. My body needs to trust I will give it what it needs and I need to trust myself to provide it. Taking all of my medicines regularly will ensure my body functions to the optimum level.
- Open communication – With Psoriatic Arthritis I need to pace my activities in order to prevent a flair up of pain. If I am not doing well when I wake in the morning I need to limit my activities for the remainder of the day in order to decrease the pain level. To add another example in regards to Diabetes, when I don’t eat my blood sugar goes down. If it goes too far down I can pass out. It is important for me to eat to maintain normal blood sugar. This means it is crucial for me to listen when my body sends me warnings.
- Intimacy – Wow! I definitely am intimate with my body. I know every part of my body and what causes me pain. I can identify when new ailments occur which helps in preventing complications of my illnesses in the future.
- Commitment – I need to be committed to giving my body the proper nutrients and limit sugar and carbohydrates to keep it functioning well. In addition it is important I keep moving my body (exercise) in order to prevent further deterioration of my joints due to Arthritis. Furthermore, I need to be committed to taking my medications regularly to prevent further difficulties in the future such as taking my antidepressants to avoid a Depression episode.
- Respect – This ties into communication, listening to the signals my body is giving me. I understand that my body can no longer function in the same way it did before I developed the chronic illnesses. I need to respect my body’s boundaries.
This new outlook has opened my eyes to how much mind does control matter. I am much more aware and in tune to how my behavior affects my overall health. I feel this will make a significant difference in how I approach taking care of my body.
Happy New Year!
The last quarter of the year was busy with the usual holiday hustle and bustle so I took a break from writing this blog. In my THIRD QUARTER UPDATE last year, I mentioned I was having some stomach issues. Well, after a few tests I was told it was just acid reflux. I figured that was case because my Fibromyalgia can cause that issue. I was glad it was nothing serious and not a new illness.
My word for 2017 was “action”. For the most part I did make progress in this area although I did not reach my ultimate goal for the year which was to exercise regularly. I have realized the reason I have not succeeded at this goal is because I do not make it a priority on my to-do list. I always use the excuse “I don’t have time” but actually I really mean “It is not a priority”. If I want to achieve my goal of living a balanced life with chronic illnesses, I need to make it a priority.
In December I started thinking about what my goals and word for the year will be for 2018. While out shopping for a gift for a friend I found a scented candle. On the jar it said, “Live with Intention”. Immediately I was drawn to the phrase. What a motivation it would be to think about that each day! This is what I need- INTENTION! I need to make a conscious plan and focus on my target. This can apply to so many other aspects of my life. My main goal is to improve my physical health but I also have spiritual and social goals for 2018. This year I will continue with the small steps towards change I accomplished in 2017 and make a more concrete plan.
November is National Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a disease that affects your body’s ability to produce or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone. When your body turns the food you eat into energy (also called sugar or glucose), insulin is released to help transport this energy to the cells.
There are two types of Diabetes. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children. In Type 1 Diabetes the body does not produce insulin at all. Only about 5% of the people with Diabetes have this type. In the more common Type 2 Diabetes, the body does use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. Some people can control Type 2 with diet and exercise but may need oral medications to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes include age, family history of Diabetes, inactivity and obesity. In 2015, 30.3 million had Diabetes and 7.2 million were undiagnosed. It is important to understand the risk factors and be tested if one has a family history of Diabetes. Early diagnosis and management of the illness can reduce the chances of complications such as nerve damage, blindness, and limb amputations. One’s risk can be lowered by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, ceaseing smoking, and lowering cholesterol levels.
The following is a list of common symptoms of diabetes however in Type 2 Diabetes they often go unnoticed:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
This information has been obtained from the American Diabetes Association. See the website to take a Type 2 Risk Test: