The most difficult thing we learn with chronic illness/conditions is to listen to our body. It does not happen overnight…it takes time…and going through the cycles…then one day you awake to find yourself recognizing the pattern.
I have finally recognized not just one…but several patterns. The most challenging to me emotionally is the following pattern: long lasting flare (3-4 weeks); severe bladder infection; extreme fatigue; head cold; extreme fatigue; back to my “normal” — resulting in a cycle that can last a couple of months. Another pattern: flare (1-2 days); extreme fatigue; back to my “normal” — a cycle that will last 1 to 1 1/2 weeks.
Being able to recognize what is happening and what will possibly (or probably) happen next, can allow us to shorten the cycle. No, not always, but it does some times. At the very least, it can calm our minds and lessen our feeling of guilt as we give ourselves permission to rest…take a nap…ask our spouse to bring home pizza…allow a friend to bring over a meal.
It is also important to verbalize what is going on to our immediate family members. I have found this helps our son a great deal! He is reassured and very supportive when I open up…let him understand what is going on and that it is temporary.
Don’t get me wrong, it is still frustrating…we can still wrestle with guilt…as we lay low…allowing our body to rest…using whatever treatments work for us (hot baths, hot tub, sauna, heating pad, etc.).
Take your time…listen to your body…and, most importantly, be patient with yourself!