This past year I’ve had one main thing on my mind, finding an answer to what was causing my pain/illness. I wanted a diagnosis more than anything, as I felt as if I was constantly flying blind! I was trying every possible thing I could do to feel better. Fodmap diet, paleo, vegetarian and allergy testing. I tried so many different probiotics and my cupboard was quickly filled with both natural and modern medicines. You name it and I’ve tried it! Some gave me slight relief, others just caused more issues. I’ve had more rock bottom moments in the past year than I’ve had my entire life! Some more physical like rapid weight loss and scarily low blood pressure and other more emotional like fighting loneliness when I’ve been too sick to leave the house. And anger towards the doctors and friends that judged me. I know I’m not alone in this, so many people with chronic illness and chronic pain have experienced very similar issues.
The past 5 weeks had been really rough for me due to a bad flare up, I’d spent months leading up to that working hard to improve my fitness levels. In hope to improve my energy levels, all that hard work diminished literally overnight. I went to the doctors to get results of my latest test, Instead, I was finally given a diagnosis. Server Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Allodynia, a type of chronic pain that is specifically caused by my nerves. The IBS I could handle but when my doctor was explaining what the chronic pain meant for my life. At that moment I felt as though any hope I had for having a “normal” life, had been snatched away from me in seconds. My central nervous system doesn’t work properly, so regular things like eating and walking causes extreme pain. Something as simple as getting a stomach ultrasound can leave me barely able to move and my stomach to swell up. And unfortunately, there isn’t a solution for chronic nerve pain only management options.
I was given the choice to 1- Trial different heavy-duty medications to try and manage the pain levels. Or 2- Try an manage it naturally through seeing a psychologist that specialises in chronic pain management and other therapies that focus on relaxing the nervous system. I decided that option 2 was the best choice for me atm, as many of the medications had nasty side effects which were the last thing I needed to deal with and I’ve managed the pain on my own for over a year. So with the help of pain management tricks from my phycologist and other things I’m going to try like yoga and craniosacral therapy. I am hoping I will be able to manage the pain better, so it has less of an impact on my life. I will also be launching a new series on my blog in the new year, where I share about the things I try and what benefits I gained. To hopefully help anyone else dealing with chronic nerve pain. I’ll have more info about it then, so stay tuned!
Tips For Coming To Terms With Your Diagnosis
Allow yourself some downtime. Your world may feel as though it’s just been completely turned upside down or maybe your just relieved to finally have an answer. Whatever your feeling allow it to be there and take time to process it. Acceptance takes time and it can be hard to get your head around your new normal sometimes.
This has been really helpful for me to understand more about what Allodynia actually is and how I can explain it easily to family and friends. Researching can also be beneficial as there may be certain things you can do to help your condition or maybe there are things you now need to avoid. The internet can be a marvellous place, utilise it!
For me, the biggest bonus of being a part of the blogging community is connecting with the chronic illness and chronic pain community. Having people to talk to and relate about what you’re going through is seriously the best! And I’ve learnt so many things about my condition and ways to manage pain thanks to the amazing people I’ve met. For those who don’t blog there are plenty of Facebook support groups and online forums that will allow you to do the same thing. I also recommend the Mighty site for anyone looking for advice straight from people living with chronic pain or illness.
INVISIBLE YOUTH PODCAST
I discovered the podcast around the time I got my diagnosis and it honestly couldn’t have come at a better time for me! They have a series called ” So you got a diagnosis… now what” where they interview people with invisible illnesses and chronic conditions about their life and their working life. I especially loved the one featuring Ali Hemsley. Their podcast gave me hope, that no matter what I can still achieve whatever goals and hopes I have for my future despite my pain.
I hope the tips were helpful to anyone else coming to terms with a diagnosis. It definitely isn’t an easy thing to do and if I’m honest I don’t think it’s fully sunk in for me yet. I know it’s going to suck when it does, but all I can do is accept it and move on with my life and continue to work towards my goals regardless!
-If you have a chronic condition, what helped you come to terms with it and adapt to your new “normal”? Comment down below, I’d love to know! xx