Chronic illness

Health is not binary. People who are chronically and/or mentally ill may indeed be "sick" (a term with a huge amount of complexity in its own right), but we are not on any given day A) sick or B) not sick. These conditions can be lifelong or last many years, going through flares and remissions. But we are not just "sick", we are people with hobbies, partners, friends, and if possible, jobs. Our illness(es) may feel all encompassing at times, but they are not us. They are only a part of us - people who are just as complex and nuanced as any. And yet, it seems at times that there are absurd standards, perceptions, and expectations about what someone who is "sick" looks like. This only exacerbates our already complicated relationships with our bodies.

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There has recently been a lot of discussion among the politically engaged residents of Grandview Woodlands about what an improved Commercial Drive would look like. The timing of this, during the extended time for sorting out the city's long term development plan for Grandview Woodlands, is critical as it could help set the tone for the next several decades of change for The Drive.

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This conversation was sparked by a new group that formed recently, the "Commercial Drive Action Group" (who now have a Facebook group called "Commercial Drive for Everyone", which the organizer initially presented to GWAC (Grandview Woodland Area Council) meeting attendees as a group interested in making The Drive more bike-friendly. My understanding is that now the mission is broadening to generally focusing on more people (vs. car) friendly movement around the area, slightly less specific to cycling. The timing of this, during the extended time for sorting out the city's long term development plan for Grandview Woodlands, is critical as it could help set the tone for the next several decades of change for The Drive

The day has finally arrived... 

Issue 2 of Chronically Yours is finished and for sale!

It's taken me a whole year to get this issue done... I've been kind of preoccupied, ironically, dealing with my health and wellbeing! Slowly, but surely, I've been working away at it, and after a little stapling party, it's done!

Most of my usual blog readers can probably skip this post - it's an update about one of my health conditions that will probably be totally boring to most of you, but many of us who are dealing with this tricky condition have found it helpful to share our experiences. 

This is a follow up post to my initial post about LPR and laryngeal granuloma. If you want the full history, or to read the many comments and updates from other people dealing with LPR, please start there!

[EDIT: there is now a second update here.]

My previous post left off nearly a year ago - how time flies... 

I was surprised how much (mostly private) feedback I got about a couple of my recent writings on friends and on health.

Almost every email, comment, private message, etc. I got about these posts was some form of this (paraphrased): "Wow, thank you for writing about this, I have totally been struggling with this so much and it's a relief to know I am not alone and/or get some info or insight about it."

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The reason this surprised me is that even now, after having this sort of experience with previous posts, I still often feel like I really am pretty alone in dealing with these things. I feel like I'm really going out on a limb by writing about them publicly. But again and again, I get these responses from people... which begs the question: Why aren't we talking about this stuff? No, this isn't a rhetorical question, I really want to know why everyone's not talking about this, out in the open!

I found this book - "Are You Tired and Wired?" by Nurse Practitioner Marcelle Pick in a bookstore last winter, and little did I know how much it was going to mean to me. I'd been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, so when I saw it I thought it might help me understand further what it is and how it works, and what else I could do to help recover from it. It ended up reading like my life story in parts, and blowing my mind as far as how long this has probably been building up. It validated so much of what I'm going through, and helped me understand how important what I've been doing is.

You may think this is irrelevant to you, but ask yourself if you or someone in your life is constantly exhausted and on edge. Can't get to sleep (or wakes up in the middle of the night or too early) despite being exhausted. Feels like total crap after exercising, even though exercise is "supposed to" make you feel more energized. Is completely reliant on caffeine or sugar to get through the day. Having extreme cravings for sugar, carbs, and/or salt. Runs like an energizer bunny until a certain point, then crashes and turns into a puddle. Feels anxious or depressed and like life is no longer manageable.

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This building is part of VGH, you wouldn't know how pretty it is from the outside. Sitting there, it was hard not to notice I was the youngest person for miles around who didn't actually work there. I was there to get a second opinion on my laryngeal granuloma.

Waiting for an appointment at VGH

This is a hard post to write. It might be a hard post to read. It might offend, it might confuse. And honestly, if it does either, I'm not really sorry at all.

I've had a couple brave friends confess to me lately that sometimes when I talk about my health (either in person or online), sometimes they don't know what to say. That they feel bad for what I'm going through and want to support me, but don't know how to do that, or what I need.

It's hard to talk to people who are chronically ill if you haven't experienced it yourself. (I won't speak for anyone with a terminal illness, as I very thankfully haven't had to go down that road myself). But it's not impossible. All you need is an open mind, and the willingness to throw away your assumptions or beliefs about what they are experiencing.

Before trying to explain what to say, I want to go through some basics on what not to say.

I guess this could be considered part two of what I needed to get caught up on writing about health-wise here. (Part one would be about the laryngeal granuloma.)

Adrenal fatigue

Have you heard of "adrenal fatigue"? There's been a lot of talk about it more recently in alternative health circles, but it's not just one of these flaky reasons to do more yoga and eat some kale. It's a real medical condition. 

[EDIT: I've posted a follow up to this here.]

[EDIT: there is now a second update here.]

[EDIT: I've just posted a final update on my LPR adventures. I'm going to lock the comments on this and the other LPR posts now, as I really want people to use the LPR Facebook Group instead of posting here (or emailing me) - you'll get much better responses and support there! ]

And now time for some health catch up...

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