Pin It
Monday, December 12th, 2011

10 Tips on Living with Chronic Illness

By
living with chronic illness/ © Jamie Wilson - Fotolia.com

As I write this piece I am sitting in a health clinic that my daughter and I attend. When we were here yesterday, a woman who suffers from the same condition remarked how badly her mother felt at having passed it on to her (our condition is genetic). Before I had a moment to think, I blurted out that I didn’t feel badly. Don’t get me wrong–I hate seeing my daughter in pain and like any mother I would love to remove the word “suffering” from my child’s life. However, it’s just not realistic.

I remember being pregnant and hearing the refrain, “I don’t care what gender my child is as long as s/he is healthy.” I did not join in. There was every chance that my child would suffer the same chronic illness that I do, so we make the best of what life gave us, whatever the challenges. Some of those challenges are day-to-day–my four-and-a-half year daughter still doesn’t sleep through the night–and others are major, like when she was nearly two and we both needed to be hospitalized at the same time. I put my hospitalization off for a week so I could stay with her at the children’s hospital, which made me a lot more unwell.

Mainly, though, we carry on our lives much like any other family—having incorporated all the adjustments we need to make into our daily lives. Here are our top ten tips for living with chronic illness:

1. It’s OK to be grumpy
We usually try to be brave and just get on with it, but some days it is just frustrating and annoying and it helps to say so.

2. Imagine being well
The power of visualization is phenomenal. (We have managed to avoid hospitalization for the last two years with this as one of our tools). It is best carried out between 4 to 6 a.m. but useful anytime. If you can imagine feeling well, you can be well.

3. Let out your anger
Scream, throw things (where you won’t hurt anyone), stamp, shout. Let it out, then pick up the pieces and carry on.

4. Treats help
A sweetie, staying up a little later than usual one night, a new book. If you have just gotten through a particularly tough time, reward yourself for seeing it through.

5. Maintain balance
On the one hand, do absolutely everything you possibly can to find out about the latest research on treatments, things you can do to manage your condition better and so on. On the other, do not spend your whole life chasing “cures”—learn to accept your condition and live!

6. Ask for help
You don’t have to manage it all on your own. Just like helping others makes you feel good, give others the gift of allowing them to help you.

7. Cry
It is a great release to let the feelings flow.

8. Smile
Especially when you do not feel like it. It confuses your brain into actually making you feel better.

9. Rest
When you feel well, it’s tempting to rush to get everything done that you put off when you were ill. If you can rest, then you actually have a better chance of maintaining your wellness.

10. Miracles can and do happen
There are many stories of amazing turnarounds and things happening that science cannot explain. The fact that I have a daughter is one of them. Your story could be such a miracle too!

© 2011 – 2013, JC Niala. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Is Raising Bilingual Children Worth the Costs?

Fancy schools, international vacations, foreign language books, DVDs and tutors add up fast

10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children

Have you been guilty of any of these?

Family History

Who knew that becoming a mother merged our histories of loss and grief

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


JC Niala is a mother, writer and creative who enjoys exploring the differences that thankfully still exist between various cultures around the world. She was born in Kenya and grew up in Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and the UK. She has worked and lived on three continents and has visited at least one new country every year since she was 12 years old. Her favorite travel companions are her mother and daughter whose stories and interest in others bring her to engage with the world in ways she would have never imagined. She is the author of Beyond Motherhood: A guide to being a great working mother while living your dream.

Leave us a comment!

1 Comment
  1. CommentsKathi Hardney   |  Thursday, 06 August 2015 at 12:31 am

    I luv your blog and look forward to reading more. I have an African child and want to raise him in his Father’s culture. It is definitely NOT as easy as I thought it would be.









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
Unfortunately, the school and community are no longer there. The farm is being sold and there are tentative plans for a new iteration to be set up in Costa Ric...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
HI! I love your website! Just read your review of books that teach about culture and food! I can't wait to try some of the recipes you've share...
From Armenian Recipe: Apricot Tart
Please, refrain from using "western /western society" for anglosaxon countries. Western can be Mexico and Spain as well, anything on the west side of the world is western ...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
We've tried to make use of, but It doesn't works by any mean...
From African Parenting: The Sane Way to Raise Children
I'm back. Sorry, I stopped caring for this magazine for a while and forgot to discuss the meat of the matter. This article, as well as the linked article from 2011, fails to discuss cultural norms ...
From What Confused Me Most about Brits
Fascinating. I have been to Germany and met this guy who was soo rude! This article explains everything!! Since all Germans are so terribly rude it should come as no surprise that I should have met ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@ Josep. How could you possibly comment on how Germans treat people if you have never even been there? A three-day stay in Berlin and a one day stop-over in Frankfurt was enough for me to see the ut...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I am trying to find a Sikh triangular Nishan Sahib flag and haven't found one. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag
I have tried to buy a Sikh triagular Nishan Sahib flag and had no luck. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag

More from Our Bloggers