It’s been a while since I posted about living with chronic illness and chronic pain. Today, I have a plain old run of the mill cold. This seems like no big deal during cold and flu season but due to an invisible illness called ankylosing spondylitis I am on an immunosuppressant medication that takes my already abysmal immune system and weakens it further, meaning that I am at a greater risk of catching plain old run of the mill colds. If you made it through that run on sentence, congratulations.
Sometimes living with chronic pain, flare ups and fatigue is just something that I deal with and move on with my life. I have a job that is perfect for me and allows me to accommodate my needs, while living a fulfilled existence; I know how to listen to my body when it is trying to tell me something; I know how to advocate for myself in healthcare.
But sometimes all it takes is one plain old run of the mill cold to make managing my chronic illness and chronic pain feel like a Herculean task. My head hurts. My throat hurts. My sinuses hurt. My body aches. I am fatigued. And those are the symptoms of my day to day life, so when those are amplified by cold and flu symptoms, I find it much harder to cope.
What is the point to all of this? Surely I am not just whining for the sake of whining! No, dear reader, I am not. The purpose of this is to please have patience with people. To you they might just have a plain old run of the mill cold, but to them it could be something more. The whole problem with chronic pain and chronic illness is that they are often invisible, so please have patience. Remember that a plain old run of the mill cold on top of fibromyalgia or CFS or hypothyroidism or heart disease or any number of illnesses might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We get used to functioning at a higher level of pain or discomfort day in and day out and can often do it with a smile, until… well you know.