The 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge gives you one brand new writing prompt each day.  All topics relate to chronic illness and/or living with a chronic illness.  The Challenge was created by @cfs_zombie, and I learned about it from Tumblr.  This post is for Day 20, which means I am now, officially, two-thirds of the way through the Challenge!

I’m pretty excited about hitting that mark because I’m growing tired of writing about my chronic illnesses.  I’ve done NaPodPoMo a few times (which is a challenge where you do 30 podcasts in 30 days). I’ve learned that I get tired of doing anything at or around Day 20 of a 30 day project.

Day 20: Have you met anyone with the same illness?  Did it help?

Yes, I have met people who have the same chronic illness as I do. I cannot stress how helpful it is to know somebody else who truly “gets” what you are going through. Words of encouragement are always helpful, but they are even more motivating when they come from someone who suffers in the same way that you do.

As I’ve mentioned in some of the previous blogs for this Challenge, my brother and I share many of the same allergies. We were fortunate to have each other when we were children and teenagers.

Both of us would warn each other about foods that contained allergens and share our antihistamines (as needed). There were many days when we both woke up with what I call “allergy face” due to a high pollen count.

I don’t think I’ve met anyone who has borderline anemia. Or, perhaps I have but was not aware of it. This one is an “invisible illness”. If you aren’t passing out onto the floor, there is no way for other people to know that you are borderline anemic.  If you are passing out, it could be for many different reasons.

I’ve not yet been officially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. However, I know that I have all the symptoms. It runs in my family. I remember being warned from the time I was a teenager that there is a high risk that I will end up with rheumatoid arthritis.

My grandmother had it. My father has it (I think). I’m certain at least a few of his siblings had it. So, I grew up knowing several people who had the chronic illness that I am now experiencing symptoms of. Each of them has prepared me for what it is like to have this chronic illness.

I was told to expect the symptoms to start around when I hit age 30. They didn’t really kick in until I turned 40. I’ve already been taught how to cope with the stiffness and pain. I’ve learned that keeping my hands moving (by typing blogs, for example) will help alleviate some of the stiffness in the joints. As a result, I feel well prepared to cope with this chronic illness.

My acupuncturist shares at least one allergy with me. When I explain that I am experiencing symptoms that go with an allergy, she knows exactly what I am going through.

It is wonderful to have a health care practitioner who “gets” what it is like to have certain types of allergies. She knows, first hand, what acupuncture points will help alleviate the symptoms I experience. I know that I can trust her judgment.

I’ve also got a “twin” whom I’ve never met in person and who lives across the globe from me. (Technically, we are not biologically related to each other). He and I share some chronic illnesses.

There have been many times when I am suffering and he posts on social media that he is sick, too, at the same moment. We can console each other and give each other “pep talks”. It’s great to have someone who understands me because he’s got the same, weird, health issues, that I do.

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