After over a decade of living with chronic illness, seeking medical treatment, doing a lot of research, and trying various alternative treatments, the greatest improvements to my health have come from self-care actions!
Now that Fall is here and the days are cool and crisp (or wet and cold where I live), it’s time to bundle up and drink hot fluids. I drink a lot of warming herbal tea blends, but some days I crave a creamy hot chocolate, or spicy chai latte made with nut milk. I recently found another delicious autumn drink option.
"The garden activates our nervous system of rest, thanks to the soothing stimuli of nature."
-- Clemens G. Arvay, The Healing Code of Nature
Gardening can be LOT of work. But it can also be adapted to fit the lifestyles of the chronically ill, and the benefits are enormous.
Here are my top 10 hacks for making it easier:
"Exhaustion that disrupts your daily life and doesn’t get better after a good night’s sleep
has its own medical term: fatigue.” -Arthritis Foundation
Obviously, I've neglected my blog for a few months. Fatigue, more than chronic pain this time, has really gotten me down since January. Fatigue has been an on-going struggle for me in the last few years.
I had some bloodwork done recently to test for anemia, and possible thyroid issues that might explain this heavy feeling throughout my body. My bloodwork came back normal! That’s good news, right? But it doesn’t solve the fatigue issue.
In the first few years of appointments with my rheumatologist, I received a diagnosis and a drug treatment plan, as well as referral to specialists as needed, such as physical therapy or anti-inflammatory infusions at the hospital. However, I did not receive any information on the condition with which I was diagnosed. That, I had to research on my own.
When you live with chronic illness, you become familiar with frustration, pain, fear, worry, and feeling vulnerable. It’s easy to get bogged down with these feelings, but it’s not a good place to be. How do I get out of it or prevent it from happening in the first place?
Every morning in summer, I sit outside with my coffee and my daily spiritual reader. This year I am reading Your True Home: the everyday wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, a book about living mindfully. Every day I treasure this ritual.
I am fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest in a home surrounded by nature. The gentle breeze blowing through the evergreens, rising and falling, creates a rhythmical sound. Two northern flickers fly overhead-- I hear their calls first, and then watch them fly over and disappear into a stand of Douglas fir. It is easy to be mindful and grateful living in a setting like this. I crave this natural beauty, and its quiet rhythms. It steadies, calms, and grounds me.
As a former perfectionist and workaholic, chronic illness has forced me to change my ways. The first five years after being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and adrenal fatigue, I was still pushing myself too hard and trying to do too much. This resulted in more frequent flare-ups, and a higher level of chronic pain.
Hi, my name is Kalyn. I love plants and all things nature, so I find myself turning to nature to help me cope with the multiple chronic illnesses. May you find inspiration here.