Stephanie just did a video blog showing what her average day looks like. I am in awe of all she gets done in a day! Stephanie is one of my favorite people on the planet, but our lives could not be more different. So, we thought it would be interesting to show you what a typical day looks like for me – a woman with a chronic disease.
Here is a day in the life of Ann:
There is a pang of disappointment every morning when I wake up to find that I haven’t been miraculously healed in the night. I believe wholeheartedly in God’s love for me and being ill every day somehow feels very wrong.
Because my form of illness involves double vision, dizziness, hearing loss and vertigo, just getting up in the morning takes courage. To ease into the day, I check social media from bed. I like to see what my friends are up to and I want to hear about any prayer requests they might have.
Once I do get up, I head straight into the shower. Because of balance issues, showers are exhausting. If I didn’t do it right away I would be tempted to skip them altogether. I try to do my hair and make-up too. I may go a long time without seeing anyone from the outside world, but “fixing myself up” gives me a much needed boost and a sense of normalcy.
On the days I do go out, it is usually to a doctor’s appointment or to grab a few items at the grocery store (my sweet husband drives me). Because of the double vision and dizziness (that can switch to full-on vertigo without any warning), I have to pray my way through outings. I keep up a constant dialogue in my head: “Jesus, please help me.” “Don’t throw up, Ann, you’re doing fine, keep going.” Every small trip out of the house is an exhausting marathon.
Unlike healthy people, chronically ill people’s bodies don’t renew themselves very well. This means that we only have a set amount of energy each day. Since most of it is used up from battling disease, we have to be very selective in how we use the rest. One of the ways I choose to use my daily allotment is to cook for my husband. On really bad days, it might take me all day to make a simple dish. I might have to lay down in between each step of a recipe until the world stops twirling. But, it’s worth it to see the enjoyment on his face.
Most days I spend time working on my weekly blog. I love writing to you lovely people and I thank you most humbly for letting me do that. It gives me a much needed sense of purpose. It’s easy to feel like “a waste of skin” when you are sick every day.
I also try to spend time at my craft table. I journal my thoughts and feelings. My new goal is to focus on little successes and to stop comparing my life to others’.
This year, my daughter planted a garden in our backyard. When I can, I go out and sit in the dirt and pull weeds. It is getting exciting now that things are ripening (zucchini, anyone?).
Once I’ve been up for 4-5 hours I head back to bed. Naps used to feel like a luxury. Now, they’re a sad necessity. But, they also offer a peaceful break to the hard days.
When I wake up, I quickly throw something together for dinner and then my husband and I are very naughty and eat while we watch TV. It makes us feel like we’re on a movie date. This is my favorite part of the day. We watch British television shows because they’re quieter. They don’t use fancy camera angles that set off vertigo attacks.
When I go to bed at night I have to hold my forehead with my hands until I fall asleep. This gives me a point of reference and makes the constant spinning sensations slow down. Only when I am asleep can I forget that I am ill.
A healthy person could look at my life and think it’s pretty small and a little useless. Honestly, I feel like that in the darkest hours! But, I fill my world with as much humor as I can, as many quiet acts of service as I can manage from home, and with dear people who love me.
And, I go to my Father daily to be reminded that I am his daughter and that even a life with constant illness matters to Him.