This post was guest-written by Lee-Ann Liles.
My health precedes my every decision. I live in Bermuda, an ideal place to work and vacation in one package. Yet, Bermuda is known for harboring an increasingly high number of people with chronic illness, some of the most stand-out ones being heart disease, diabetes and cancer. With 65,000 people on 22 square miles, Bermuda has produced some very rare and difficult to diagnose and treat illnesses due to its isolation in the middle of the Atlantic. With this in mind, you would think that doctors would be receptive to patient woes, but this is not always the case.
Every year after completing my annual physical, I would celebrate the fact that I had not acquired any of the chronic diseases that have marred my family. In my maternal family alone, everyone has a “chronic disease.” These include Crohn’s disease, lupus and breast cancer and gives me every reason to be attentive to my health.
After having my daughter in my late thirties, I took full advantage of the quiet times when she was asleep, but I was also completing my Masters. The pain, stiffness and exhaustion that developed during that time never went away, later growing into inflammation and a strange hyper-vigilance to the noise in my environment.
I discretely talked to friends and family about my health and received helpful information, but I stopped seeking help until a friend asked me why I was always out of breath. I realized my health was just as important to others as it was to me.
I visited three physicians before I was tested for a chronic illness. The third doctor concluded I had Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (S.E.I.D.), but after further investigation with a Rheumatologist she concluded that it was possibly psoriatic arthritis, Celiac’s disease, Crohn’s disease or lupus. She gave me a Cortisol shot for adrenal fatigue and I was amazed at the change! I was to hop on a plane to London and then France the next day and for the first time in five years, I stayed energetic throughout the trip and even danced in a nightclub.
As difficult as it may be, I am adjusting my daily plans to accommodate my health, even though I have not yet received a diagnosis. I will listen to my body to avoid exhaustion. I will learn to say “No” more often and regulate my diet and exercise to find balance. I will continue to find peace of mind, through quiet periods of relaxation, which will reduce my stress levels. In this way, I know there are wonderful things to come. Never give up.
**This is the fifth of many in a guest contributor series. If you would like to be considered as a guest writer for ChronicBabe, visit this link.**