Your life can quickly shrink in the face of chronic illness. How can you cope, manage limitations, and still have dreams? It seems impossible at times, but it doesn’t have to be. Health writer and rheumatoid arthritis patient Lana Barhum shares five lessons to keep in mind as you pursue your passions.
AFTER MANY YEARS OF LIVING WITH RA AND FIBROMYALGIA, I RARELY RECALL THE PAIN AND SICK DAYS. BUT THE MEMORIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE UNFORGETTABLE.
Having dreams can seem frivolous, but to me, it means I am living and participating in my life – beyond just existing. It means doing what matters to me, whether my goals are big or small. As I finish up my ninth year with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia, I continue to be surprised by the new lessons I learn, especially with respect to pursuing passions. Here are five that have proved particularly valuable over the years.
Do your “thing” even if when you don’t feel 100%
There will be a million reasons to throw in the towel when your health limits you and makes you feel dreams are out of reach. Learn to push past your pain, fatigue, and most of all, insecurities.
Of course, you have to take care of yourself. But there have been plenty of times when I didn’t feel motivated to follow through with projects because I wasn’t feeling 100%. When I forced myself to push past the pain and do what made me happy, I was glad I did. For example, I will always remember the sense of accomplishment I felt the day I finished my master’s degree three and a half years after being diagnosed.
After many years of living with RA and fibromyalgia, I rarely recall the pain and sick days. But the memories and accomplishments are unforgettable.