Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Invisible Fight-Invisible Illness Awareness Week

My invisible fight, or what goes on inside my head as I live with multiple chronic illnesses, is the topic of today's blog post. I think this has changed for me over the years. When I first got sick, I knew something was very wrong. But, I couldn't find any doctor who would help me figure out what it was. It took me dozens of doctors and a half a dozen years before I received my first diagnosis. Ironically, my latest diagnosis only took a few weeks. I guess God figured I was owed that this time around. ;) I fought for so long to find answers that that is all I thought about. Now, as more time has gone by with a firm diagnosis, my mind has other things to think about fighting for.

I can live with the pain, weakness, limited mobility, etc of my illnesses. I don't like it, but I can live with it. What I have to fight for is a purpose. My purpose. It's not lost on me that these feelings are coinciding with my soon-to-be empty nest and mid-life hormonal changes. I'm well aware that many healthy people also have these same feelings. The difference is that they are able to explore so many more options. They don't have the limitations of health issues. For example, I'm no longer able to work, so a career change wouldn't be an answer for me. Volunteer work might be possible, but I'd have to be in charge of when, where and what I could do. Very few places are able to accommodate such demands.

My true wish is to be a patient advocate. Patient advocacy can be done on many levels. Spreading awareness about your illness is a form of advocacy; blogging, writing a book, lobbying for changes in laws, etc all are forms of advocacy. Even though I want to be an advocate, I still have a hard time with the concept. By being an advocate does that mean I've let chronic illness be the focus of my life? I don't want to be one of those people consumed with their illness. There is more to my life than that. If I advocate does that mean I'm looking for attention for myself? I don't want people to feel sorry for me, but if by sharing my journey through chronic illness helps someone, then maybe it doesn't matter what people think.

So, I'd have to say, my biggest fight is the fight I have within myself of finding my purpose. And, if advocacy is that purpose, then finding the best way to advocate that helps both myself and others is one of my biggest struggles.

"Your big opportunity may be right where you are now."~Napoleon Hill

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