I have been diagnosed with a case of the no nos!! And I don’t like it one bit!!!
Over the Thanksgiving holiday I came down with what I had hoped to be a simple chest cold. Well, that simple chest cold quickly turned into bronchitis. It has been over two years since bronchitis disrupted my life. It has been two years since saying no was a part of my self care plan. The improvements I have experienced in regards to my chronic pain has made saying yes to everything I want to do possible. In a way I figured I’d never have to say no again, guess I forgot that chronic pain isn’t the only thing that can knock one down……
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The hardest part
Saying no really isn’t that hard for me. As someone who has been living with chronic pain for over 20 years, I had make saying no part of my life or I wouldn’t have had the energy to do anything. There were times when I could only commit to doing one activity a month. Instead of being excited over choosing an activity, I would get depressed thinking about who I would have to let down. But through the years I got better at juggling people and expressing why I had to space getting together farther out than if I wasn’t chronically ill. Since the age of saying yes arrived, I forgot what it was like to let someone else down, what it is like to miss out on something, and how much having to rest impacts my daily life. But that still isn’t the hardest part of saying no and having to rest, the hardest part is not allowing my dark friend depression con me into thinking that this period of recovery is where I will remain for the rest of my life.
Game of association
I associate time spent in bed and resting with all the years that I was in too much pain to leave my bed. In the past two years of feeling almost as good as I did before any diagnosis, I have struggled to give my body the time it needs to rest while recovering from a cold or injury. I become anxious if I have to sit still for more than one day.
I am at war. Not only am I doing everything possible to get through this bout of bronchitis, I am fighting to remember that I have come a long way in the past few years and one case of the crud isn’t going to ruin that. Sure I may have adjust my physical expectations until I am fully back to normal, but I don’t have to give up. I have had to cancel a lot of plans since Thanksgiving weekend, this has been easier than I thought it would be. But I remembered that pushing myself will only make things worse. As I begin to improve, my biggest battle is to utilize my chronic pain tool kit in order to get out and live before I am 100%. This means that not feeling ashamed or disappointed for having to use a wheelchair. As I write this, (a few days before being published) walking for an extended amount of time or at a normal pace triggers coughing fits and pain in my chest and sets me back in my recovery. My family and I have plans to do something that we have never done together this coming weekend and I am not going to let my pride stop it from happening. If walking is still a problem, I will use my wheelchair and accept that I am doing what is best for my body that day. And that by doing that I am not giving up. I also have to remember that this is only an illness. Yes, it may last for a month or two, but it hasn’t and won’t change the progress I have made in the past two years in regards to my chronic illnesses. I can still walk without pain in my feet or back. I can still spend my day out bed and work from my desk.
Not the same game
This bout of bronchitis is much different than any I have had in the past. In the past, my ribcage and chest would hurt terribly from all the coughing. This time I am experiencing no pain in either area thanks to my drug-free pain-relief device Oska Pulse (see picture below for more information). It is also helping me sleep at night and it is breaking up my phlegm. Another difference is that I am not experiencing a fibromyalgia or psoriatic arthritis flare. Typically I have always experienced an increase of chronic pain when I am battling another illness. I have hope that I will be able to cure my case of the no nos sooner than my case of bronchitis, but it will never happen if I don’t give my body the rest and care that it requires today.
Do you struggle with needing more downtime when you become ill? Why or why not?