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Accepting A Chronic Illness: Where to Begin

Let's get into a profound and essential topic, the acceptance journey. Acceptance is a crucial step in managing and living with a chronic illness, and it's something that many of us struggle with. In this episode, I'll share my personal story, the challenges I faced, and how I began my journey towards acceptance.


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Revisiting Diagnosis

In previous episodes, I touched upon my initial diagnosis and the whirlwind of emotions and medical appointments that followed. Today, I want to delve deeper into what happened after my diagnosis and the critical moment when I realised acceptance was necessary for my well-being. I was officially diagnosed with endometriosis after a diagnostic laparoscopy at a private centre. Following my diagnosis, I returned to university, only to face the stark reality of my condition's severity. My consultant, an exceptional and compassionate specialist, informed me that surgery was the best course of action. This news was a lot to take in, especially at the young age of 19.

The Big Sacrifice

One of the most challenging aspects of accepting my condition was recognising the sacrifices it required. At the time, I had secured an incredible placement at Disney, an opportunity I'd worked tirelessly for. However, the timing of my surgery meant that pursuing this dream was impossible, and the decision to prioritise my health over my career aspirations was heart-wrenching but necessary. This experience highlights a crucial point for anyone on a similar journey, sometimes, we have to make significant sacrifices for our health. It's a painful but essential part of acceptance.

The First Surgery and a New Beginning

The surgery was daunting, and the recovery was tough, but it marked a turning point in my journey. After the initial recovery period, I experienced a remarkable transformation, for the first time, I felt what it was like not to be in constant pain. It was a revelation, I felt like I'd been given a new lease on life. This newfound well-being was a powerful motivator for me, it underscored the importance of accepting my condition and doing whatever it took to manage it effectively.

Starting the Acceptance Journey

The feelings of relief and renewed energy post-surgery were instrumental in prompting me to think seriously about acceptance. Here are some key points that helped me get started on this journey:

  1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: Allow yourself to mourn the losses and changes that come with a chronic illness, it's okay to feel sad, angry, or frustrated.

  2. Seek Support: Having a support system is crucial, my family played a vital role in helping me through the toughest times. Don’t hesitate to lean on your loved ones or seek out support groups.

  3. Educate Yourself: Understanding your condition empowers you, the more you know, the better equipped you'll be to manage it and make informed decisions about your health.

  4. Set Realistic Goals: Acceptance doesn't mean giving up on your dreams, it means adjusting your expectations and finding new ways to pursue your passions within the constraints of your condition.

  5. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself, recognise that living with a chronic illness is incredibly challenging, and it's okay to have bad days.

  6. Focus on What You Can Control: Many aspects of chronic illness are beyond our control. Focusing on the things you can control, like your response to challenges and your self-care routines, can be empowering.

Moving Forward

Acceptance is not a one-time event but a continuous journey, it involves ups and downs, and it's different for everyone. For me, the process started with recognising the sacrifices I had to make and appreciating the moments of relief and normalcy I experienced post-surgery. Remember, acceptance is a personal journey, and it's okay to take it one step at a time.

If you're struggling with acceptance, know that you're not alone. Together, we can navigate this journey and find ways to thrive despite our challenges.


The Chronic Illness Coach Podcast

The Chronic Illness Coach Podcast challenges listeners to believe that all chronic illnesses can be put into remission. Alex is on a mission to engage, educate and empower those living with a chronic illness who want to change their life for the better. Join your host as she shares her journey of living with a chronic illness and invites expert guests to break down complex niches of health, science and wellness. Each episode is a lifeline for listeners, offering practical strategies, emotional support, and a sense of community. 

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