Changing My Routine

This week I read a newsletter written for women with chronic illness, and I was inspired to try a different approach to my mornings. I put more effort into my routine by showering, moisturizing, fixing my hair, putting on a bit of makeup, and wearing a cute (and comfy) outfit. I took things more slowly than I did when I was healthy, and I made a few changes to my old routine, but I did it. Those of you who live with illness know that being able to get ready and look “normal” is an accomplishment in itself. I dealt with physical pain most of the day, and my symptoms remained the same, but I felt good about myself. And I felt confident about my appearance for the first time in too long.

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We know that illness affects the body, but we don’t always consider how chronic illness changes the way we see our bodies. There have been dozens of times I’ve thought to myself, “I am fighting against this body” or “I wish my body would cooperate today.” In the process, I’ve seen it as something that I battle. It’s been challenging to love the very thing I am fighting against. I’ve decided that I need to change my point of view. I started by following a morning routine in which I care for my body. It’s helped me change my perception of what I’ll look like while living with this illness. I know that I won’t be able to blow dry my hair or shower on my really bad days, but I am learning to do what I can to help myself feel better about the body I am in.

You see, I can’t change my illness. I can manage it, accommodate it, and be grateful for good days, but none of that will make it disappear. It’s taken me months to accept that my life will not be what I’d expected. That doesn’t mean that my life is less worthwhile, but it changes how I think about my future. Accepting a new way of life means that I have to be more intentional about caring for my body because it’s not as resilient as it was before. I will need to use my transport chair sometimes, and I may be judged for looking “normal” while riding in it. I may get stares from strangers who don’t understand that I need a lot of help, even though I don’t look terrible that day. And that sucks. However, I refuse to feel bad about how I look in order to cater to the misconception that illness is always visible. I will not let ignorant people determine the way I live my life, and I won’t hate my body because it doesn’t function the way I’d like. Instead, I’ll do the best I can to enjoy the life I’ve been given.

Today I am reminding myself that life can be beautiful when it’s not perfect, and I am challenging myself to treat my body well every day.

If you’re looking for more inspiration on this topic, I recommend checking out Lottie Ryan’s newsletter.

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6 thoughts on “Changing My Routine

    • Thank you for your interest. I am more comfortable speaking in general terms about medications commonly used for POTS, as opposed to my particular treatment. A betablocker can be prescribed to lower the resting heart rate so that tachycardia occurs less often. Fludrocortisone is used to increase blood volume because POTS symptoms are worsened by blood pooling in the legs. When the blood pools in the extremities, it does not get to the heart, which means the heart has to pump faster to get enough blood. Midrodrine is sometimes prescribed to increase blood pressure. This is important because POTS patients tend to have more symptoms when experiencing low blood pressure (fainting, high heart rate, dizziness, etc). POTS patients are also told to increase daily fluid intake and eat a high sodium diet. These changes are recommended in order to increase blood volume, which makes it possible for more blood to get to the heart so that tachycardia occurs less often. GI problems are also common with POTS because the entire autonomic (involuntary) nervous system is affected. Some POTS patients are told to eliminate dairy or gluten from their diet altogether.

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      • I’m no doctor so general works. Dairy should not be taken by anything that is not baby and modern gluten is just bad in and of itself.

        I am just some guy, but I feel that you would find the work from the Linus Pauling Institute at the University of Oregon and their work with Vitamin C. Also, work with probiotics, which connect to auto immune issues.

        You probably have already looked into stuff like that though. Hope that I am not being too forward.

        Regards,
        Clifford Mitchem
        Advocare Distributor
        Nutrition + Fitness = Health
        http://www.AdvoCare.com/13087657

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  1. Pingback: Style Tips for the Chronically Ill | Choosing Hope

  2. I think it is so important to work with your body and that language (including internally) and approach to life (pessimist vs. optimist) can have an impact on how you feel. I agree that just turning that around and working with your body is so important. I have steered away from people I had been following online that talked about their Rheumatoid medication as ‘chemo’. Just this sort of language annoys me and puts health conditions like rheumatoid and cancer in the same space and I don’t feel comfortable with that. Medications for RA are a modified low dose, long term version of chemotherapy found to be beneficial with RA symptoms. In no way are they close to the chemotherapy treatment of someone with cancer, despite having some similar symptoms.
    Keep the language and feeling positive and you will feel positive.😊

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