You know what? Having chronic illness sucks. Having two or more chronic illnesses sucks even more. But, as cliché as it is to say this, there is always a silver lining—no matter how small—to something that changes your life so drastically. In fact, there’s often several.
I’ve written, and will probably continue to write, the odd post bemoaning my lot in life when it comes to health. It gets me down and frustrates me, so sometimes I vent. Tonight though, I thought I’d talk about a few of the good things that have come of these wretched health dramas. So, here’s a few of the things that aren’t so bad about being chronically ill.
Sometimes I Sound Really Smart
Without studying medicine, I’ve become a veritable expert in the field of specific prescription medications. I can tell you what hormones affect which areas of the body, and how the body responds to specific increases/decreases in insulin, thyroid function, and immune system function. If you ask, I can also rattle off a list of substitutes (and recipes) for special diets like wheat/gluten free, Lactose free, sugar free, and super-food-rich. I’m a one-stop shop for information on both traditional and natural medicine…within limits of course—I’m not going to be lecturing on brain surgery any time soon.
I Have an Genuine Excuse for Being a Picky Eater…but I Don’t Dramatise
I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for many years. I’ve made coffees, waited on tables, and catered for events, and there’s always that one customer that drives you crazy with their order. There’s the half-strength-caramel-shot-soy-mocha-latte-no-foam who also orders cake with a side of ice cream, but icing sugar, because “I’m watching my dairy and calorie intake”. Or the white-bread-crusts-off-no-butter-mayo-chicken-sandwich dude who’ll complain if he finds a crumb of crust left on it. Oh, and the bride who wants four mains options because she doesn’t know if she’s going to feel like fish, chicken, beef, or lamb at her wedding…but she only wants to pay for three. Seriously, these are real customers.
Because I’ve dealt with picky eaters, and because I love food (a little too much), I try not to mess with stuff too much when I go out to eat. I pick something that looks appetising, order it, and eat it. If I don’t like it, it was my bad choice. Now, though, there’s some things my body just won’t accept, and others that it only likes in certain amounts, or on certain days. I have a diva digestive system. So, if I go out for breakfast I’ll ask for gluten free bread, if I’m feeling over-dairied, I’ll have soy milk, or I’ll order the salad without red-onion, to avoid the inevitable headache. I won’t, however, make a big deal of it, or recreate a whole dish just to get what I want. And I certainly won’t complain about the extra cost. As much as it sucks, food speciality items are more expensive, you just have to suck it up.
I Appreciate Little Wins
We humans like to complain. We like to assume the world is against us, that others are inherently bad, and that life is out to get us. We don’t do this all the time, but it seems to be our more common way of thinking. We very easily look at the negative instead of the positive, especially when it comes to our bodies. How many times have you looked in the mirror and thought “Ugh! My arse looks huge” or “why did I have to have a pimple today“, as if tomorrow would have been any better a day to have Mt Vesuvius on your nose.
I’m just as bad as everyone else. I hate that I now have adult acne and struggle even more with my weight thanks to the PCOS. I get frustrated when silly things don’t work out as expected. But one of the things you learn very quickly when your whole body aches to some extent every day, is that those molehills are just that—molehills, not mountains. The negatives still bother me, but I try to focus so much more on the positives. I get excited over having enough energy to spend a whole day out and still being able to cook dinner, or being able to get to sleep within three hours of going to bed, or simply not waking up with a headache. These things are so much more important to my day than whether or not my cheek is covered in pimples, or my arms are looking especially flabby, because they make my day easier and happier. Sometimes this even means I can brighten someone else’s day in return, which I’d say is a pretty big win.
There you have it: three pretty great things that come from chronic illness. It’s hardly an exhaustive list, but maybe I’ll keep the rest up my sleeve and make this a regular feature.
Anyone else out there with chronic illness want to help with my list?