This blog post is part of what I am writing for the 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge. It involves a series of topics (one for each day) that focus on different aspects of living with a chronic illness. The 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge was created by @cfs_zombie, and I learned about it on Tumblr.

Day 8: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

So much could, potentially, happen between today and five years from now.   This topic is a little bit about trying to “predict” the future.   Roll the dice, read the tea leaves, consult your favorite deity… that sort of thing.

Another way to look at this topic is to attempt to extrapolate what the future will be like based upon the data gathered from living through the previous years.  What I end up writing might be best described as one part “hope” and one part “my best guess”.

Where do I see myself in 5 years time?

* Still here.
I’ve made it to age 40 without dying from an allergic reaction (thanks to careful planning and being hyper-aware of what’s in my environment).  It seems likely that I will make it to age 45.

* Receiving Disability Benefits (maybe)
My friends, who are very knowledgable about Social Security Disability Benefits, believe I probably qualify for them right now. I am skeptical by nature, therefore I’m not as certain as they are that I will qualify.

I haven’t done a whole lot of research about it, and have concerns that having allergies (even ones as serious as mine) don’t count. Does borderline anemia count? I’m quite certain that I have the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. If I get an official diagnosis, will that qualify me for Disability Benefits?

I’m going to assume that five years from now I will, at the very least, have a definite answer about whether or not my chronic illnesses qualify for Disability Benefits.

* Still writing
I’ve been working as a freelance writer since 2010. I fully expect that, five years from now, I will still be working as a writer.

The exact details may change between now and five years from now, but that’s the nature of freelance writing. It all can change in the blink of an eye, and you just have to roll with it. (Hmm… that’s similar to what it is like to deal with chronic illness…)

For now, I’m going to try and be optimistic and assume that the pain that I frequently get in the joints of my hands won’t be worse five years from now. Or, that I will have access to whatever treatment there is for that – so I can keep writing.

* Somewhat healthier
The brand new health insurance plan, that covers both myself and my husband, kicked in on January 1, 2014. (Thanks, Obama!) We qualified for a subsidy, and it makes the plan affordable.

We have yet to receive the information about exactly what the plan covers (beyond the things it is required to cover, such as preventative care). Once we have that, it will be a lot easier for me to have access to health care when I need it.

In five years time, I believe I will be somewhat healthier thanks to being able to afford to see a doctor when I first get a sinus infection (instead of waiting until the pain becomes unbearable). I’m hoping I’ll be able to afford to pay for a new Epi-Pen, every year, when it expires, without having to purchase it from outside of the United States. (The same is true for my inhaler).

I’m going to remain optimistic, for now, and assume the plan covers my acupuncture treatments. We will see. (More about that in an upcoming blog).

I understand that my chronic illness cannot be cured, and that I won’t ever be “well” or “healthy”. But, it would be nice to have a few more “good days” in my future.

That’s all the predictions I can come up with about what things will be like five years from now. Most, if not all of it, directly relates to dealing with chronic illness. That started out as an intentional choice in order to make this blog fit into the focus of the Challenge.

As I was writing it, I realized that there could be no other way for me to write about this topic. My health issues are always on my mind, and play a huge role in my day to day life. My list would come out the same, even if I was writing it as… I don’t know… a New Year’s Eve prediction blog, or something like that.

I don’t think I’ve aimed too high with the things that are on this list. Even so, I’ll be amazed if they all work out the way I want them to.

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