Be Healthy?? I have a chronic illness, how can I be healthy!! Seriously, it does seem like a contradiction. However, if you really think about it you will realise that of all people someone with a chronic illness cannot afford to live an unhealthy life. You want to give yourself the very best chance of stopping or at least slowing down the progression of your chronic illness.
How I strive to be healthy
All my life being fit, and eating healthy has been difficult. When you suffer from chronic fatigue, and continual pain, getting the motivation to do some exercise can seem impossible. Plus the temptation to eat comfort foods sometimes is impossible to resist.
On Thursday I went swimming. My energy levels have been poor, but I did make the effort to swim before breakfast. 540 metres in about 25 minutes. I loved that I could move fast in the water, as my walking is slow now. (Dropping right foot, and heavy right leg). I made the mistake of pushing too hard, and about 5 pm the tank was empty. I could do nothing more. At 8:30 into bed, and I slept for nearly 10 hours. I wish I could say that I woke up refreshed, but anyone who has fatigue knows that that can be a distant memory.
Despite this, tomorrow morning I will swim again. Because my body needs to be as fit as possible so that I am physically capable of with standing the pain, and the many other symptoms that I have. It is part of what I have to do to fight my chronic illnesses every day. When I am not fit I find it much harder to resist the temptation of taking more pills to combat the continuing, and worsening, pain.
I also control my diet now. Last January I started a 6-day diet. For 6-days of the week, I am vegetarian, on the seventh day all hell can break loose and it is ok. What I have found is that I will probably not eat any meat on the seventh day, but it is always an option. That is the key. I have found that I feel better as a result. Less heavy, and when I do succumb to the need for meat, I usually regret it, as I start to feel heavy again. But it is nice to have a treat day. I also avoid all processed foods, unless I make them myself. Baking bread is an enjoyable past time, and thinking of new dishes is a pleasure.
What does all of this mean? I think that doing what sometimes appears to be counter-intuitive can have the most benefit. Battling against the temptations of doing nothing (no exercise), or giving into eating foods are not healthy has to be a key part of my battle against sickness. By doing the things that we want to avoid, we actually make ourselves stronger, more capable, and more resilient. This is true in everything in life, I think.
In my life, I have often faced having to do things that I am frightened of doing. Time and experience have shown me that by embracing the fear and doing the things that seem difficult I overcome the obstacles, and they are no longer a threat.
Being healthy tomorrow
Tomorrow I will wake up and probably will be tired, as usual. I know that if I want to succeed in being the Master of my illness, I will get out of bed, and I will swim. My body will be stronger as a result, and I will be more capable of fighting this illness.
This is how I face the challenge of chronic illnesses in my life. Do you do these things too? Let me know in the comments below.