Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Wellness Wednesdays: How to Deal with Chronic Illnesses

The first thing you'll feel when you are determined to have a chronic illness is frustration. This is what new members of our patient group usually post about. I remember the frustration as well after I had heart surgery, my first PE and my second PE. My energy diminished through the years. 

The biggest mistake I did was think I had the same energy. I did not slow down and even increased my pace. My doctor was so shocked when I climbed the Borobudur Temple almost four months after OHS. I felt I had to prove myself. I even told a colleague I planned to run a marathon. It has remained a dream. 

As much as malling is my cardio and my favorite thing to do pre-pandemic,
it's just been very challenging for me. 

I had fun for five years after mitral valve repair, then I strangely had a huge blood clot in my lungs. It was left unnoticed by doctors for a year. It was only found by a doctor I insisted to see for a second opinion. He was trained in Cleveland Clinic that's why I got lucky. If I waited any longer I probably wouldn't have made it. 

Despite being found sick, I still flew to Rome to complete a commitment. I almost missed my flight because I had tests done before heading to the airport. Ended up bleeding when I got home. I don't regret going. My doctor grounded me after that and I missed a lot of trips. When I felt better, I was at it again. 

The lesson here is to know when to stop and accept your new reality at the right time. I kept pushing myself and this eventually led to frustration, then depression. It took me years to accept that I'm not the same and I have to embrace what I am already. Honestly, it was only this year that I finally accepted that I have to carve a new path. 

Instead of calling myself "retired" I think I'd rather call myself a hobbyist. My hobbies include: sleeping, wellness, a bit of exercise, and ah quilting, gardening and cooking when I have energy. My bottomline is to create more happy memories with my boys. :) 

*PE - pulmonary embolism

OHS - open heart surgery

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