I write often about my multiple medical conditions, which may lead people to believe that I am more disabled than I truly am. I work hard to maintain my quality of life, and what works for me. With a little thought and planning, you can definitely have a wonderful life, even when dealing with multiple chronic illnesses.
Accept Your Limitations
I don’t always do this well. On days when I feel great, I tend to overdo and knock myself out for a couple of days, but it’s worth it. Who doesn’t like to feel strong and capable, if only for one day? I do have limitations, and most of the time, I work within them. There are some important things I do that help me.
Eat Healthy Foods in Several Small Meals
I eat an abundance of raw fruits and vegetables, but very little meat. Instead of three meals, I eat small amounts of energy-rich food throughout the day to maintain my energy levels. Keeping a supply of fruits and veggies for a quick carb snack is helpful, as is staying well-hydrated.
Plan Activities With Your Limits In Mind
I love to hike, but I can’t hike with a group, because I can’t walk long distances. I hike nature trails alone or with a friend who understands my need for frequent rest stops for fluids and snacks. I limit my hikes to a distance I know I can complete without collapsing. Sometimes I am literally stumbling to the finish of my walk, but it’s a good kind of exhaustion. I like state parks that allow camping, allowing me to take several days to explore.
Keeping up with the weather is also important. I don’t function well in extreme cold or heat, so I plan carefully around seasons and times of day that allow peak performance.
Unless you are in debilitating pain, you need to keep moving. I find that when I don’t exercise a little each day, my joints stiffen up and I am in even more pain. Yoga and Tai Chi are gentle exercises that are extremely helpful for flexibility and muscle strength. If you can’t handle strenuous calisthenic exercises, I suggest chair exercises using fitness bands to keep your muscles in shape.
Take Your Meds
I manage my conditions largely with holistic and natural medicine. I take a handful of supplements every day, but I also have large bottles of over-the-counter pain relievers by my bed. I carry medications with me wherever I go, and always take any necessary meds or supplements before and after activities that require exertion.
Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back
After breaking a few bones, I was afraid of falling, so I didn’t want to ride a bicycle. My neighbor gave me a bicycle and told me to just try it and see what happened. I ride my bike all the time now, and am thinking of getting a motor scooter. Almost everything I do has the potential to cause me problems, so if I let fear hold me back, I may as well roll up in a ball and stop living.
I will never climb a mountain or hike across the country, and I’m not going to be a competitive body builder, but there are so many things I am more than able to do. Maintaining quality of life does not require you to “leap tall buildings in a single bound,” but it does require you to put the fear and self-pity aside and live your life to its fullest.
More from Deborah Aldridge
New Study Shows Yoga May Help Control High Blood Pressure
Using Tai Chi to Regain Balance and Recover From Fear of Falling
My Experience Using L-Dopa Mucuna for Arthritis Pain