What’s It Like Living With A Chronic Illness?
People often ask me what it’s like living with a chronic illness. And by ‘often’, of course I mean never. So, for the benefit of absolutely no one, allow me to explain.You know that feeling you get when you start to come down with something? Your throat starts to hurt and your glands swell up. Your sinuses block and your nose starts to run. Your head hurts and you can’t think clearly. Your bones ache, your body feels weak and no amount of sleep seems to make a difference.
Well, to the best of my admittedly limited scientific knowledge — it’s ok, Cathy is a doctor, remember? — these are actually the body’s natural defences for fighting off infection. It’s your immune system switching on and kicking in to gear.And these are the symptoms I’ve had 24/7 for the last seven-and-a-half years. Because, as I’ve explained before, my body has been fighting off an infection it can’t beat and my immune system remains permanently in the ‘on’ position.
The good news is that it means I rarely get whatever bug it is that’s going round. Happy days.The bad news is that I permanently feel like I have the flu. Not so good. Of course, there are other symptoms, too, like sensitivity to light, noise, cold and heat, significant memory impairment, insomnia, chronic pain and various bodily dysfunctions not appropriate to discuss in this type of public forum. And that’s without the introduction of any number of medical treatments — and believe me, I’ve tried a few — which inevitably make you feel worse than you did to begin with.
So, in short, living with a chronic illness is a real party and that’s your answer.
Oh, wait — but you didn’t even ask?
Image by www.brettarthurphoto.com.