It's a big duh to say this blog focuses on those affected by Interstitial Cystitis. After all, it's in the title and I suffer from it. I don't think that means that no one else could benefit from this blog. There are plenty of conditions out there that force people to watch what they eat, and there are even people who chose to do that because they want to.
So, how can this blog help you and your chronic Illness?
Think about your chronic illness and the barriers it presents to you. What do you struggle with? Pain is probably a big one.
But what about lack of energy? That's one area this could help you with. Meal planning, I have found, saves me time. By having my week prepared, I waste less time thinking about what to do. I know what I'm going to do, and when the time comes, I do it. That right there will save you time. And stress. The decision is made and you don't have to waste precious spoons. (I assume anyone with chronic illness and pain is familiar with Spoon Theory.) You know to have those spoons reserved.
If you know there are certain times of the day that you have more energy, you can plan your meals around it. Say, early in the day and around noon you have plenty of energy but at dinner time you're dragging. Make a crock pot recipe that will be ready for dinner.
You can also apply your food requirements to a meal plan. Have to avoid dairy? Make a meal plan that is dairy free. Same for gluten. Many people are avoiding gluten, but a little planning and research you can find plenty of alternatives and meals to make.
All chronic illnesses require a massive change that we all struggle to adjust with. Resources are out there, other people suffering are out there. You are not alone and you can do it.
That is what I want you to take from this blog. You and I may suffer from different illnesses, but I'm still here for you. If you ever want to talk, drop me a line, tweet me, message me on FB. I'll respond when I see it and be happy to help lift you up.
What chronic illness do you have? How has it changed your life? What need are you struggling to find answers to?
Every year on my writing blog, I do a monthly challenge in April called The A to Z Blogging Challenge. The goal is to post every day, minus Sundays, and the post theme corresponds with the alphabet. Meaning April 1st is A, April 2nd is B, and so on. It's a fun challenge and always stretched my writing creativity. It's also a great way to find people interested in what you have to blog about.
This year, I decided to do it here. Not a lot of people know what Interstitial Cystitis is. It also has a nasty habit of taking YEARS to diagnosis. I figured why not use this challenge to spread awareness? The posts will be short because a lot of people take part in this challenge, so often longer posts will get skipped. Also, don't mistake any of this for medical advice. Join me on April 1st to learn all about this chronic illness and how I live with it.
If you look at me, you won't know I'm sick. In fact, you might think I look pretty darn good. My weight is right, and I'm not too tall or short. I'm relatively active. You may think I'm weird for dying my hair crazy colors, but that's neither here nor there. Overall, I appear the pinnacle of health.
Only I'm not.
I have three chronic conditions: Endometriosis, Iritis, and Interstitial Cystitis. All three can be very painful and all three you can't see on the outside. Well, my Iritis you can see if I ignore it long enough, but that carries the risk of losing my eye sight! I'd rather not, thank you very much.
(For those of you wonder, Iritis is an auto-immune disease. Basically, my immune system gets confused and thinks my left eye is a virus and attacks. I went through a lot of tests because it can be a sign of something else, but all those tests were negative. There's nothing I can do other than manage it and try to keep flares––what triggers them is a mystery––to a minimum.)
To control both my Endometriosis and Interstitial Cystitis, I take birth control and skip the placebo week. A lot of women report their IC being linked to their period and hormones. They can sometimes tell when that time of the month is approaching because their IC will flare. Or it will flare afterwards.
For me, it was after. I went through intense Endo pain for a week, then two weeks of IC flares. Taking the pill actually stops both from flaring. But if I eat the wrong thing, my IC will let me know, but the pain isn't nearly as severe. I can still function.
That often leads me to struggle with imposter syndrome. I'm not in pain, I'm not suffering, should I really be on the IC boards on Facebook? Should I really be this tired? Why can't I do the same things I did before the diagnosis? After all, I'm not in that bad of shape and seem to have things under control. Maybe I'm not really sick.
I worry that people will think I'm faking it. Or exaggerating. When I had a laparoscopy to diagnosis my Endometriosis, my doctor actually said to me, "Well, we know you're not faking it." That's stuck with me ever since 2011.
I know I'm not faking it. The pain is real and the damage has been done. It's just hidden on the inside where people can't easily see it, but if you really want, I have pictures.
Have you ever felt imposter syndrome with your illness? Did someone close to you refuse to believe? How did you deal with that?
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Artist and writer. IC doesn't define me. Always looking for fun hair colors to try. Lover of Doctor Who and vampires.
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