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Why I Splurge on the Everyday Items I Need for My Disease

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For those of us with chronic illnesses, it may seem obvious that pampering is a good thing. After all, being pampered makes us feel special. And with all the pain and other effects we endure from our different illnesses, that is the last thing we feel on a day-to-day basis. So it is a feeling we definitely need in our lives. But it goes beyond just feeling special. Pampering can actually make handling our disease easier. And by pampering, I’m sure you all think I mean massages and seaweed wraps or stuff like that. Actually, I don’t.

I’m talking about the things we use on a daily basis just to get by.

The first thing that comes to mind, obviously, is medicine. We all take it (even if it’s in the form of supplements) and most of us carry it with us, which creates the need for a pill carrier. So a long time ago, I decided I wanted a really cool pill carrier, since I had to have it with me 24/7 anyway, right? I ended up going to several antique shops finally found the most unique sterling case I’d ever seen. Now if I have to medicate in public, I usually get compliments on that pill case instead of stares.

And along with medication, of course, we all need water! Look at your water bottle or even the glass you use for water at home. I know having to take medicine every day is not only redundant and frustrating, but also a constant reminder of all that is broken inside of us. So go find the fanciest glass, goblet, or stein you can and designate that as your official med-mug! No one else is allowed to use it and it will make taking your medicine (slightly) festive. OK, maybe not. But you can at least look forward to pulling out that beautiful glass you picked out.

Many of us also have to utilize what’s called “adaptive equipment.” I know many people with Sjogren’s syndrome are light sensitive and need to wear sunglasses daily. With so many choices of sunglasses on the market, it’s easy to fall into the trap of getting a cheap, “workable” pair. But why not go for an awesome pair that you absolutely love and feel gorgeous in? Instead of stressing the fact that you are light sensitive, stress you! Your personality, your style, your love of cats! (or something…)

And speaking of style and personality, use that same philosophy on your cane if you need one. Why use the plain, metal, adjustable ones? Most medical supply store stock canes in colors and patterns now, but if you can’t find one, get creative. They can be painted, glittered, or wrapped in ribbon. Better yet, check online. I custom ordered mine due to my height. It’s made out of diamond willow tree wood and again, I get a lot of compliments on it. The beauty of the cane  takes the focus off the fact that I need it. And yes, I fully admit that when I ordered it, I was not yet ready to accept that I needed to use a cane. But having that piece of art at my side actually made me willing to use it.

Lastly, I tell you the story of my purse (or purses). I’m a purse-a-holic. A purse snob. I only buy good, leather purses. At least I thought they were good leather purses. Turns out they couldn’t handle the multitude of stuff I needed to carry with me after I got sick. I became a purse killer. Until I decided to buy the purse I have now. It’s expensive. But it is thick and put together really well with grommets and metal instead of sewing. It has a strap that is thick and long and also grommeted in place. It is truly waterproofed. But more importantly, I love the style of it. I love carrying it. It is pretty and makes me feel good. And that actually makes me forget what’s in it.


So, my chronically ill sisters and brothers, I will leave you with these ideas for consideration. I get that being chronically ill is mentally and emotionally draining and the last thing you want to think about is how you look in sunglasses. I also get the fact that these diseases drain money like we’re throwing it from the rooftops. But if everything around us is simply functional or assistive, aren’t we turning our lives into extensions of the disease rather than the disease being only a part of our larger lives? If our clothes, shoes, totes, jackets, creams, and lotions are all purchased strictly for our disease, I think they will always remind us of the disease. Sure, sometimes we won’t have a choice of products or styles, but whenever there is a choice, I say splurge. Pamper. Run as far away from the parameters of your illness as you can and be you.

Otherwise, the disease becomes you and you become the disease.

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Originally published: August 6, 2017
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