Disease, Healthcare

Putting the “chronic” in illness

I have two definitions for all of you to consider.

Acute illness: any illness characterized by signs and symptoms of rapid onset and short duration. It may be severe and impair normal functioning.

Chronic condition: persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronic is often applied if the course of the disease lasts for more than three months.

My suspicion is pretty high that if you’re reading this blog, it is because “chronic” caught your eye and you more than likely also have a chronic condition. Millions of us do. In fact, at least 1 in 3 of us have at least one. So we know the medical definition. But, what does a chronic condition or illness ACTUALLY mean to you and me?

Let’s go a step farther back. Take a look at chronic in a different context, completely separate from anything related to illness. Many of us can be considered chronic fans of sports, music, art, or gardening for example. Technically anything that we hold a continued interest in is considered chronic. But, instead of calling it that, we refer to it as a hobby.

Our hobbies still require work to improve. We all start as novices and work our way up the ladder. We learn more about them, we work on our techniques, and always try to do better than the last time.

Think of when you were diagnosed with a chronic illness. Initially, there was probably a feeling of not knowing much. It probably was overwhelming. Sometimes it felt like you were being smothered by it. Then there was a learning period about the disease, medications, and management. You probably had to adapt something in your life so that the illness could be controlled easier.

Over time, you got used to the fact that medications, lifestyle modifications and doctor appointments are now a part of your routine. Time continues to march forward and you do too.

Just because an illness is chronic, doesn’t mean that it defines the person that you have always been. You have hobbies, family, friends and goals. All of those are integrated with illnesses. Sometimes we have to pause or slow down because of what our illnesses are doing to our bodies, but you are still YOU.

Don’t let an illness define the person. Instead, you need to define the illness. I have multiple chronic diseases. But, I’m also a chronic pet lover, quilter/sewer, reader and nurse. Chronic has multiple roles in my life.

Sometimes all it takes is changing the way we look at something to make it seem more manageable and not quite so overwhelming. What does chronic mean to you?



‘Cause you had a bad day…


I’m having a pity party for one. We’re all entitled to those every once in a while. We just can’t stay there forever.

Maybe I duped myself by not wearing black today – Friday the 13th. Things go in three always, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when today hasn’t gone anywhere near planned. This morning I spilled water on my shirt; count one. On the way to the hospital for my IVIG infusion, we followed a hearse (empty), but nonetheless enough to make your stomach sink; count two. Then once I got to the hospital, we couldn’t get my port accessed–three nurses, seven attempts; count three through ten.

Yep, that all happened before 11 am. Usually my infusion days last about ten hours, today however, we’re looking at twelve-ish. We didn’t start the medication until 11 after I gave up and asked for a peripheral IV. I also asked for my primary physician to put a referral into the surgeon to see if we can do a little fixing.

I’m also on my third respiratory bug in under a month and a half. So “immune system in a bottle” don’t fail me now. This is what happens when you have a horrible immune system. Every four weeks I come here. Watching the immunoglobulin drip into my depleted body and knowing that it is the reason I have at least some quality of life.

This is a shorter post, one I’m typing while trying not to lose the precious IV in my hand. My pity party for one…

‘Cause you had a bad day
You’re taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don’t know
You tell me don’t lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don’t lie
You’re coming back down and you really don’t mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day
Bad Day: Daniel Powter