The Truth About Living With A Life-Threatening or Chronic Disease
Posted On July 29, 2022
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When you first discover that you have an illness, it can be extremely scary. You might be uncertain about the future and how this diagnosis will impact your life. You also may not know where to turn for help or support. When you’re dealing with a life-threatening disease or chronic condition, everyday tasks can become overwhelming. Your responsibilities at home, work or school may seem impossible to tackle while managing your illness. And even though your friends and family want to help, they may not know how best to assist you. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening disease and are struggling to cope with the changes it has brought into your life, these tips for living with a chronic disease can offer support and some much-needed insight on what lies ahead for you.
While every person’s journey with a chronic illness is different, some general recommendations can help you manage your symptoms and make your quality of life better. It’s important to communicate with your doctor to stay up to date with your current medical treatment plan, which can include medication, herbal supplements, dietary changes and other tips for managing your symptoms. There is also research being done every day on new treatment options for many illnesses. By staying up to date on new discoveries, you can better inform your doctor about what types of research you’d like to be included in. Knowing what other people with your condition have experienced and achieved can help you set realistic treatment goals.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Asking for help isn’t easy, but there are plenty of ways to get assistance with the various tasks of daily life. If you have a disease that requires you to take daily medications, ask someone to help you find ways to organize medication schedules, times and dosages so you don’t miss a single dose. People with chronic illnesses often need assistance with day-to-day activities, such as managing money, grocery shopping, cooking or cleaning. You might also need help with childcare, transportation or other tasks. If you are in the process of applying for disability, the government offers assistance programs and services for those with disabilities. These services can help you with transportation to doctor’s appointments, medication assistance and other necessities.
Set boundaries and find support
One of the hardest parts of living with a chronic illness is the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring. You may notice that you need more rest than usual, or your symptoms may be more severe and cause you to have to cancel plans. You may also need to adjust your career path or other life plans due to your illness. It’s important to set boundaries with yourself, as well as with your friends and family. Let them know how they can best support you, and how they can best respect your limitations. You may feel like you constantly have to apologize for not meeting certain expectations or feel guilty for needing help. You don’t have to do any of that. Chronic conditions often don’t come with an expiration date or a “cure” that pops up one day and magically makes everything better. You deserve to be supported and cared for as you navigate this new chapter in your life.
Take care of your physical health
Physical health affects your mental and emotional health, so it’s important to take care of your body with the right amount of sleep, exercise and nutritional eating. You may need to adjust your sleep schedule to accommodate your disease, or make other changes to your daily routine. If your disease affects your mobility, try to take advantage of assisted devices and tools that can help you get around. You can also join a support group for people with similar illnesses, where you can share your experiences, ask questions and get encouragement from others who are going through the same thing.
Create a support network
Because chronic illnesses can be long-term conditions, you may find yourself needing support during many stages of your life. Create a support network that includes people who can help you during different stages of your life. For example, you can get people to help you with child care if you are parenting and have a chronic illness that affects your mobility. You can also ask friends and family members to be there for you when you need a listening ear, assistance with everyday tasks, or to help you find additional resources that can help you manage your condition better. You can also get involved with online support communities or message boards where you can interact with people who have chronic illnesses. These online connections can help you find the support you need when you’re struggling and offer a safe space to share your experiences.
Chronic diseases are challenging, but you can live a fulfilling life with them. By staying informed, setting boundaries, and finding support, you can successfully manage your chronic disease. Creating a support network and taking care of your physical health can also help you thrive. By implementing these tips for living with a chronic disease, you can achieve a positive outlook on life and live your best life despite your diagnosis.