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To Those Who Ask What Exactly I Do All Day as a Woman With Chronic Illness

You would be surprised how many times I have been asked this question. Is it rude? Yes! Do people ask anyway? Yes!

The answer is simple. I worked at a professional job for over 10 years, 40-plus hours per week. The job I have now of being at home full-time as a woman with chronic illness is the hardest job I have ever had in my life. I would love the people who have asked me this question to live in my body for one day and then tell me how they feel. I guarantee they will want to go back to work.

I may get to sit on the recliner or lay in bed¬†for a large portion of the day ‚ÄĒ but it is because my body cannot physically¬†move because of pain, or a limb has decided not to support me, or both. When I¬†do get up, it is to hobble to the bathroom or the kitchen to grab a quick bite¬†to eat. When I have to walk up the stairs, for some reason I often have tears in¬†my eyes because of the pain it causes.

Yes, I can sit in front of the television all¬†day. But most likely, I am in too much pain to even pay attention to an entire¬†show. You see, when your body is in so much physical pain, your brain doesn’t¬†work the way it once did. I don’t have a long attention span, I do not comprehend¬†what I read as quickly as I once did. My¬†brain is busy compensating for the physical pain I am in.

Sure, I can take a nap whenever I want. But I¬†never feel rested. It doesn’t matter if I have had two hours, 12 hours or 20¬†hours of sleep, my body can just never seem to catch up.

‚ÄúI would love to be able to go to the gym¬†whenever I want!‚ÄĚ they say. I do often go to physical therapy once a week. I¬†try to stretch and strengthen and go for walks when I can. But it hurts. It¬†hurts a lot. But I know it something I need to do to not let my body¬†deteriorate any faster than it already is. One hour at physical therapy usually¬†leaves me in bed for the rest of the day.

Meetings? Sure, I have those, too! A few times a¬†week. At a doctor’s office. Or on a ‚Äúconference call‚ÄĚ with the insurance¬†company trying to figure out the pile of medical bills we receive each week.

Am I lazy? No. I can do a load of laundry or cook a meal. I can usually get my son dressed, fed and to school in the morning (though not always); however, it usually means I will need to sit down and rest and recover from a simple tasks that most people take for granted.

So when you see me out and about and I have a¬†smile on my face and seem to be enjoying myself ‚ÄĒ I probably am! I love my¬†life. Is it different than I imagined? Yes! But I do my job. My job of resting¬†my body, of nursing my aches and pains, of taking my medication and mentally¬†preparing for the stamina I will need to do the things I truly enjoy.