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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Training Wheels

*Note: I meant to post this November 4th, so please consider this that day's post.

Today's topic is "Training Wheels. Write about a time your health condition forced you to grow up and take the training wheels off (so to speak)."

I've lived with chronic pain since (at least) my teens. It wasn't always debilitating (thankfully), like it often is now. Living with chronic illness can definitely force you to grow up more quickly.

Most people in their teens and twenties don't visit their doctor(s) frequently - usually just for physical exams, vaccines, and if they get sick with something along the lines of a cold / flu. Many don't give their health a second thought because it rarely even appears on their radar. They're free to live life without thinking about the health-related consequences of doing even the simplest of tasks. Life is lived without the concern of whether or not their health with hold up that day, week, month, year, etc... good health is considered a given, somehow.

I started seeing specialists in my teens to try to diagnose and treat my symptoms (that, except for an injury which had a clear diagnosis and treatment, were all invisible illnesses without clear diagnoses or treatments). Around the same time, I also started tracking my symptoms in a health calendar, which I've kept ever since (though it has transformed over the years). Not as much when I was in my teens, but I've increasingly had to consider whether participating in something would increase the pain. Since my migraines became chronic, I'm faced with actively weighing out how doing even simple tasks will affect my health. My health is not only on my radar, but it's plays a prominent role in my life and the decisions I make daily.

After living with some sort of chronic pain for so much of my life, it's hard to pinpoint a single situation that my "training wheels" were taken off. Chronic illness forces you to acknowledge your limitations and accept your life as it currently is.
Perhaps one situation that required my "training wheels" to be removed was my decision to move to Tulsa to start graduate school, less than a year after my car accident. I went from living with my parents to living on my own, several hundred miles away. I had to figure things out on my own, in ways that I hadn't before. I'd lived on my own before, but never with the level of chronic illness I've experienced following my accident. It was frustrating because I knew what needed done, but I physically and/or emotionally couldn't do it all myself. Learning to ask for and accept help was (and continually has been) an important lesson living with chronic illness has taught / is teaching me.

This post was written as part of the National Health Blog Posting Month (NHBPM). Other bloggers will share their posts on this FB page.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Jamie, I wanted to ask if you were ever tested for Lyme disease. I know this may seem out of left field. I was just reading on how you've suffered in pain since your teens and was just wondering if it was ever a possibility. They say that almost 50% of all chronic illnesses can be attributed to Lyme's disease. Not sure how true that really is but it certainly has gotten my attention. Take care and God bless! Margaret

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    1. Margaret, I have not been tested for Lyme disease. From what I've read about Lyme disease, I don't think I have it. I'm not sure, though. I think that most of the chronic pain I had back in my teens were due to sport injuries (overuse injuries). The headaches definitely have a genetic aspect, and were probably greatly aggravated by working out (exertion), allergies, etc.

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