Living the Chronic Life
Living life should be pretty easy, right? I’m sure for many people it is, and I don’t begrudge anyone living a normal life. I, however, am not one of those people. I am living a chronic life. It’s not that I made a decision one day to live such a life, but instead, the life and lifestyle were thrust upon me by fate, genetics or years of running my body into the ground.
The many challenges of living with chronic conditions
At this point, I’m really not sure, but I know how much of a challenge it is to live with chronic conditions. It changes you in ways you are, for the most part, not ready to usher into your present life. Living a chronic life forces you to change. There are routine changes, changes to your work life, social life, and changes in your family life, just to mention a few.
A change in career
For me, the biggest and most difficult change to facilitate was with my career of thirty-four years in drug retail management. My episodic migraines had started to become problematic to the point I was forced to deal with them head-on. That was ten years ago. I started with tons of tests and more drug therapies then I could imagine. The drugs were almost as bad for the career as the migraines!
Migraine attacks worsening after an accident
I was diagnosed with migraine with aura. I continued to work and chose to hide my disease from most of my co-workers. It wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made, but it was what I thought I had to do at the time. As time went on my condition became chronic. I was also involved in a rear-end collision which exacerbated the migraine episodes as well as leaving me with chronic pain in my lower back that was eventually remedied with a lumbar fusion. Let me say again that living with chronic conditions is hard.
Adjusting to the impact of migraine on my life
I was fortunate that I never had a huge social life. Even after leaving my career behind and having an enormous amount of ‘free’ time, I’m even less of a socialite. If you consider visiting doctor's offices, I guess you could say I have a healthy social life! I’m using some of that free time I spoke about to write the article. I also have insomnia to thank for that. I do have some good days where I get out of the house, but the majority of my time is spent at home. I do housework, laundry, dishes, and cook meals depending on how well I feel that day. My wife has become the provider of the house and thankfully keeps us insured.
The challenges of family life
Family life has its challenges. There are days when I am in bed most of the day. Other days it’s a struggle to get out of bed thanks to my co-morbid friend: depression. I still get out and attend family get-togethers, but there are plenty of times I don’t as well. I try to keep up my spiritual health and attend church when I’m feeling up to it, but I don’t go as often as I’d like. Thankfully my church streams their services live and also has the in archive form on their website.
My children are all grown and old enough to help me out when I need help. I get to see my grandkids often, and that is a blessing. We live close, so a trip to see them or vise versa is not a big deal. As you can see, living a chronic life poses some unique challenges to overcome, but it is still a life worth living. I live well. It’s just different than it was before my chronic conditions started.
Which are you most sensitive to?