An A to Z of chronic illness: Part 2

Welcome to the second part of my A to Z of living with chronic illness.  Here are the buzzwords for chronic illness from F to J:


F is for…


Yes, living with chronic illness is tiring.  Often, we have sleepless nights because of pain, or other symptoms which are bothering us whist we try, albeit unsuccessfully to sleep.  It is a complaint that is often reported by patients with chronic illness; suffering from a wide variety of different conditions, which can include fibromyalgia, ME, multiple sclerosis and many more.  Fatigue, however is so much more than feeling tired; the feeling that the majority people experience after a long day at work.  Fatigue associated with chronic illness, can in fact occur after very little activity (happens so often to me!).  Patients with chronic illness, such as myself report feeling just as tired when they wake up in the morning despite having a full night’s sleep.  And symptoms may become worse when fatigue occurs, such as balance problems, walking, or even concentration.  Limbs often feel very heavy as a result of fatigue.  A very common experience of many with chronic illness and so deserves its place in an A to Z of chronic illness, whatever the condition.


G is for…


This letter was tough!  I have decided to use ‘Gadgets’ for letter G in the A to Z of chronic illness, as let’s be honest, where would we be without our gadgets?  Our smartphones, tablets, and laptops provides a patient experiencing chronic illness provides us with a lifeline to the outside world.  From our beds (which we often are) we are able to log onto Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, and participate in conversations with other people, despite being confined to our bedrooms.  In the nights, whist suffering from insomnia, it can provide us with much needed entertainment by allowing us to watch films or TV programmes thanks to online streaming media such as Netflix.  Thanks to technology and our gadgets we can live more productive lives than we would if they didn’t exist – we can do almost everything online – shop for clothes, food, and other amenities; watch films and TV programmes, gain social interactions with others, as well as being able to purchase music or even a book at the touch of a button.  It allows for escapism from our daily lives with illness and keeps us from being bored and miserable.


H is for…


Unfortunately, a life with chronic illness cannot be experienced without endless visits to hospitals. For some, it may seem like a second home, as stays in a hospital is necessary.  However, even for those like myself, who are fortunate that does not require a stay in hospital as an in-patient, it still means regular trips as an out-patient.  Appointments at hospitals are often needed throughout the journey of diagnosis, but even after diagnosis, appointments with a consultant may still be needed for discussion of the particular health condition. Patients with chronic illness may also need treatments such as infusion treatments, physiotherapy and so on which again requires regular hospital visits.


I is for…


I feel that this is an important word for the A to Z of chronic illness as not every condition that can be considered a chronic illness is visible to others.  It is said that approximately 96 per cent of people are living with a chronic medical conditions that show no outward signs of their illness, and hence are invisible.  There are many people living with disabling medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis that you would never know have the condition.  Many stories are reported from people with chronic illnesses on blogs, or on Twitter who are abused by the public for using a disabled parking spot because they do not believe that are in need of such a place as they cannot see that they have an illness or disability that would require such a permit. You can read more about this subject on my past post ‘Don’t judge others for you do not know their story.’


J is for…


Living with a chronic illness and spending a lot of time at the Doctors’ and hospital appointments, you will inevitably hear a lot of medical JARGON along the way.  In time, you will pick up a lot of the terminology that applies to your specific medical condition – it is like learning a new language.  Given time, you will speak fluent in this new language and use them in everyday conversations with other patients.


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