Hey Beauties, Hope you’re all doing well!! This week we have Sharon who will be telling us abit about chronic health and how she manages to cope with them.
Coping with Chronic Health Issues
Coping with chronic health issues can be a daily struggle. However, if you become mindful of your conditions and learn what aggravates them you can learn to cope day to day.
Even though “chronic” refers to long-term, and usually means no-cure, a diagnosis of a chronic condition does not have to be a death-sentence.
My main strategy is to never give up! I decided early on that I would NOT let any condition/illness defeat me! I believe awareness and mental attitude can be 9/10 of the battle!
Numerous Chronic Issues
There are numerous chronic issues that millions of people suffer from, and I’m (un)fortunate enough to suffer from several. I would like to talk about a few of them, and the ways I’ve learned (and am still learning) to cope with them daily.
- Diabetes- This one probably changed my lifestyle the most drastically. I was a nurse working 16-18-hour days 5-6 days a week. Most of the time the hours were not scheduled, but I was asked to work over. I would eat, rather snack out of vending machines and just keep working. I suddenly had to learn how to eat properly and on schedule. Diabetes runs in my family. Add to that the way I was eating; I was approaching middle age and overweight. I should have been watching my own health as well as my patients’ health. I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, placed on oral meds as well as insulin. At first, I was rebellious, I was not compliant, and before long it all lead to my next problem.
- Heart Disease- This one also ran in my family, but too heart disease also can come with diabetes. By the time I was 46 years old, I suffered my first (now of three) massive heart attack. Due to poor diet, diabetes and extremely high Triglycerides and Cholesterol. I was very lucky. I had 98% blockage on one side of my heart and 100% blockage on the other side. The cardiologist was able to perform angioplasty and place stents to open up my arteries. Again, I needed immediate lifestyle changes. My cardiologist instructed me to strictly follow a Diabetic and Heart Healthy diet, increase exercise, and cut my working hours to no more than 40 hours a week. He said I would do these things if I wanted to live. Then came the next set of problems.
- Depression & Anxiety- Yes, these are mental health issues, but they are also chronic health conditions. You do not “just get over them” or cure them. One must learn to cope with Depression & Anxiety, and then you can for the most part control it to some degree. Nursing was my passion, and my dream job. I was the staffing coordinator at my nursing facility. When nurses called in and the facility was short of staff my initial instinct was to go in and help. With me having to cut back on my hours, this caused a lot of anxiety and depression for me. Then we lost my niece to leukemia and six months later I lost my dad to a sudden heart attack. Deep depression set in. By the end of that year, I had my second massive heart attack, ended up in early retirement and permanent disability.
- Chronic Pain- I also suffer with chronic pain due to Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Narrowing of my Cervical Spine, and bone spurs along my entire spine. Oddly, I can cope with the chronic pain better than I can deal with the lifestyle changes and not being able to work as a nurse due to the top three conditions I suffer from.
Ways to Cope
Everyone is different, and while there are many ways to cope with chronic health issues, first I must say always listen to your physicians and health care providers. Ask them for ways to cope with your individual conditions.
Always have a support system in place! Be it your spouse, adult children, a therapist, or best friends you need someone to lean on or just vent to on difficult days. You should never have to struggle alone!
Pay attention to your body! Learn what triggers the bad days or flare ups. Avoid stress or foods that make symptoms worse.
Stay consistent with doctor appointments, medications, diet and exercise.
Above all, practice self-care! You deserve it! Even if you are like me and would rather be doing for others instead of for yourself. Remember you cannot give to others (or yourself) if you are running on empty. We must recharge ourselves just as we have to recharge our phones!
My Life Today
Many days I struggle to accept that I can no longer physically do as much as I want to do. But each day is a treasure and a new opportunity to do something!
Now, I have lost over 90 pounds since I was first diagnosed as diabetic 13 years ago. I follow a diabetic and heart healthy diet. I have cut gluten out of my diet and eat low carbs. I am no longer on insulin, but continue oral medications.
My personal quote is “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself” 😄
Every day I truly miss being able to go to work and perform as a nurse. My passion still remains to help others with their health. That passion is what lead me to start my own blog Happy & Healthy Living. My hope with my blog is to maybe help even one person by something I might share through my nursing knowledge and personal experience.
I am very grateful to Cuppa&Chat for the opportunity to share here today and I hope you have enjoyed reading.
Some great tip’s here Sharon, thankyou so much for sharing you’re story and tips with all of us!! What does everyone think?? Let us know in the comments!! Untill next time,
Much Love – Mrs Slee-Jones xx
Don’t forget to show Sharon some love!!
I am perfectly imperfect! That is the best, and maybe the only description needed for me! I’m a middle-aged female that is a mother to 3 adult children and grandmother to 3 amazing little people. I’m also a sister to one older brother that is my hero in many ways. I’m a friend to a tribe of glorious women that I have known and cherished as my friends since childhood. I’ve tried marriage twice and after two divorces I’ve now remained mostly happy, only sometimes lonely for the past 20 years. As a disabled nurse, forced into early retirement my passion to help others lead me to start blogging.
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