The 30 Day Chronic Illness Blog was created by @cfs_zombie. Each day, there is a brand new writing prompt that deals with chronic illness and/or living with a chronic illness. I learned about this Challenge when someone reblogged it onto my Tumblr dashboard. I have reached the end of the series!
Day 30: And finally… starting at your toes and working up to your head, name each part of your body and how your illness has affected it, followed by something you like about that part of your body.
That’s too many words for a blog title, so I’m calling this one “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” (like the kid’s song).
* Affected: The joints in my toes and feet can become stiff and sore due to inflammation caused by my allergies, or as a result of the rheumatoid arthritis that I probably have.
* Like: When I stopped eating foods that contained gluten, I went down half a shoe size. Yay?
* Affected: Same story – knees can get stiff and achy due to inflammation from allergies. When I was born, the muscles in my legs (from my ankles to my hips) weren’t right. The doctors didn’t think I’d be able to walk without the use of leg braces.
* Like: I can walk (even when my joints are sore).
Hips, and all the organs in them
* Affected: My digestive tract is not capable of digesting gluten, and often doesn’t know what to do with dairy foods, either. This results in a whole lot of random discomfort (depending on what I ate). My reproductive organs push my borderline anemia right over the borderline, which leads to exhaustion and the tendency to pass out.
* Like: I have a rather high metabolism when my body is given food that it can actually digest. I’ve lost clothing sizes since I stopped eating foods that contained gluten.
* Affected: Same story – my stomach can’t digest certain foods and that leads to discomfort and feeling really sick.
* Like: Same story – I’ve lost size (and fat) since I stopped eating foods that contain gluten.
Rib cage and all the organs in it
* Affected: The muscles connected to my rib cage hurt if I’ve been wheezing too long (from asthma or from allergy induced asthma). My bronchial tubes can close up due to asthma or an allergic reaction. I get bronchitis fairly often and sometimes can fight it off.
* Like: Hmm… I’m going to go with “sometimes I can fight off bronchitis now without needing antibiotics”? Maybe I’m getting a tiny bit stronger than I used to be.
* Affected: My shoulder joints ache nearly every day. Sometimes, I wake up with achy shoulders. I think this has something to do with the rheumatoid arthritis that I am beginning to have symptoms of.
* Like: I think my shoulders are where I carry my stress. There’s a saying that goes something like “The weight of the world is on your shoulders”. I cannot think of a less lethal place to physically carry stress than my shoulders.
* Affected: The joints in my hands and fingers ache from inflammation that is caused by my allergies (or by the rheumatoid arthritis). The skin on my arms will itch as a “first sign” that I’ve been exposed to food or beverage that has gluten in it. My wrists are the most likely place for hives to pop up.
* Like: Early warning signs of allergic reaction give me a chance to take medication, wash off, get away from, whatever allergen is plaguing me before things get really serious.
* Affected: My sinuses are frequently painful due to pressure or allergic reaction. Having to sneeze and blow my nose, multiple times, in a row, isn’t any fun at all. My throat can tighten or close up if I eat certain things that I am allergic to. Sinus infections are frequent. I have (and still can) lose my hearing while my allergies are really, really, bad. Too much pollen in the air can make me wake up with swollen eyes (or, what I call “allergy face”).
* Like: I’ve often been described as “cute”. So, I guess I could say I like that my appearance doesn’t always match the gigantic mess of symptoms that I often experience. I can pass for “normal” even when I’m horribly sick.
So, there we have it. I have managed to complete this blog, and in doing so, have finished the entire 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge. This series of blogs includes some of the most personal stuff I’ve ever written about. It would have to, though. How does one talk about his or her chronic illnesses without mentioning “body stuff”?
I feel like I learned more about just how much my chronic illnesses affect me as a result of thinking about them every day this month. It’s harder to ignore when you have to answer questions about it in blog format. It is my hope that at least some of the blogs in this series were useful to those who read them.