Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hospital Style

As you may or may not know, I have Crohns disease.  I’m pretty open about my health issues, although I try not to let them be the only thing I can talk about.  My Crohns disease used to define me a lot more than it does now, mostly because I let it.  These days, if I go through a rough spell like I am going through now, I don’t really let it get me down the way I used to.  It is just a part of my life, not the only part of my life. 

It can be very difficult to live with chronic illness for a lot of different reasons.  However, I have been pretty lucky in that I have good people in my life who except me as I am, and really do understand what being chronically ill is all about even though they haven’t necessarily experienced it for themselves.  That is actually a pretty rare quality, and I am super grateful for the people in my life that understand when I break plans because I am just to tired, or are willing to just come sit with me at my house when I am hurting. 

I haven’t been feeling great lately, and it really does interfere with what I want to do and what I want to accomplish, which is frustrating.  But if I have learned anything in my almost 31 years, it is that everyone has some personal demon to battle.  Some cross to bear.  It’s okay for life to not be perfect.  It’s okay to have hard times.  The only thing that we can control in this life is how we react to our situation, and how we learn to live through it. There is still a lot in my life to be grateful for, even on my worst days. 

Sometimes it feels really pointless to get dressed up, or even shower, on a day when I know that I won't be doing anything special and I don't really feel good anyway.  So why bother?  But I try to remember that I dress for myself, and even if I am the only one who sees me all day, it makes me feel better and a little bit more human to go ahead and take care of myself, even when no one is looking.  Besides, I like to look nice for my husband too, even though he really doesn't mind seeing me in my PJ's day after day.  It makes him feel good to know that I want to look nice for him, even if it just means putting on clean clothes and washing my hair. 
I used to say, "I hate this sick body," but my husband changed my mind. 

He told me, "It's not your bodies fault that it is sick.  Your body is beautiful, it is going through this too.  You need to be kind to it."  So now, I think of my body differently than I used to.  It's not my body that is betraying me; it is this disease.  It helps me to remember to be kind to myself and helps me separate my illness from my self. 

Whatever you are going through, remember that you are the one who gets to decide how you feel about it. It isn’t always easy to stay positive, but I promise you one thing. Being positive might not help your situation improve, but I guarantee being negative will only serve to make things worse. I don't always feel like dressing up, but I know that it makes me feel better when I do. I also care for myself by taking long baths, which allows me to nurture my body and think of it in another way instead of just focusing on what is wrong with it. Walking or swimming are also ways that I nurture myself. Eating healthy, delicious foods, also helps me to have a positive relationship with my body. It's my coping process, as silly as it might sound. It helps me. 
Here I am getting my treatment a few months back. I was pretty fancy for a trip to the hospital, but I had dinner plans after. You know me, I’m never afraid to be the fanciest girl in the room, no matter what room I’m in!  I will admit that I have been known to wear PJ's to the hospital, and that is okay too.  It's not really about looking a certain way, so much as taking care of myself and feeling like myself even when my life is less than glamorous. 

P.S. In case you want to know more about this Chantilly dress I made last year, the original post can be found here.

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