Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Power Outages, Post-script

When I posted my "Power Outages, Cancer-Style" blog on Facebook, my friend Pearl brought the Spoon Theory to my attention.

If you have ever struggled to explain or understand the limits of living with a chronic illness, like cancer, colitis, endometriosis or fibromyalgia, you need to read this post about the Spoon Theory.  The Coles Notes version is that when you live with a chronic illness, your daily energy is limited, like a handful of spoons.  Each activity you undertake is broken down into a number of strenuous tasks that cost you spoons.  Getting to work in the morning isn't one step, it's at least five.  By the end of they day, you don't have any energy (spoons) left.  And if you do too much, as I sometimes do, you use up tomorrow's spoons.  It is a terrific analogy.

Oh, how I can relate!  I remember last fall the time that braiding Lena's hair took so much out of me that I had to sit down and throw up.  All last winter, after taking a shower, I would have to lay down for twenty minutes.  Recently, my pain nurse advised me to take my pain medication before trying to cook supper, to get ahead of the pain.  I have to think about whether I can handle the Gentle Yoga class.  I enjoyed it yesterday, but laying down on the mat was even tougher than getting up off it.  I didn't expect that.

The point I really want to make is that living with a chronic illness is different from being healthy in ways that I'm still coming to understand.  Whether you are struggling to understand someone with a chronic illness, or you are the one:  be patient.  It takes some time to get the hang of it.

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