Living with a chronic illness can be incredibly frustrating. As I sit here writing this my knee is swollen and hurting and my insides are rumbling from the bagel and cream cheese I ate for breakfast. Life with a chronic illness means doctors appointments, medications, diagnostic tests, sometimes surgeries, pain, feelings of loneliness, and uncertainty. I think that when you have a chronic illness, it’s important to learn how to live successfully. What I mean by this is that it’s important to take control of your life and to learn what you can do to make things a little easier for yourself. Here are some things that might help:

  • Find a support network: Many people who have chronic illnesses find that going to a support group is incredibly helpful…myself included. The reason being that it is wonderful to have people to talk to that genuinely understand what you are going through. Family and friends can be of great support, but frankly, they just don’t understand.
  • Find a doctor you gel with: No matter what illness you have, there are many doctors around to treat it. It’s important however, to find a doctor you feel comfortable with and who matches your personal style.
  • Educate yourself: Learn everything you can about your illness and the medications you are taking. That way you have some knowledge of what you can expect and you can be an active part of your treatment.
  • Ask a lot of questions: Ask your doctor what you can expect to happen down the road with your illness. Ask your doctor a little bit about the new medication you are about to start taking. Ask if there is anything you can do in your daily life to make yourself more comfortable (i.e. diet, exercise).

Life with a chronic illness means a new normal. Things are never going to be like what they were before you were diagnosed. However, that doesn’t mean that life can’t be good. Having a chronic illness forces you to take a good look at yourself and to appreciate life in a whole new way.