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Caring For People With A Chronic Illness requires faith and stamina. We will examine how to cope, manage pain and use personal and family resources to adjust and maintain a satisfying life.

Caring For People with A Chronic Illness

Coping With A Chronic Illness: 

In a lot of ways, it's easier to deal with a life threatening, acute disease than a chronic illness which, barring miracles, isn't getting any better.  These illnesses can go from a mild case of hypertension, through asthma,  diabetes, some cancers, all the way through cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, emphysema, stroke, Parkinson's and rheumatoid arthritis, etc.  The pain, confusion and energy drain can stop you in your tracks, whether you're the patient or a close loved one.  This is when we need to know our disease and hold to our determination to get through.

Pain Management Tips and Tricks:

Knowing our disease helps us learn what can be done without medication to manage pain.  It's one thing to take meds for a temporary injury, but long-term pain meds can add addiction to an already growing list of problems.  With many diseases, pain can be exercised and massaged away.  Aerobic exercise can put endorphins in your body which are very strong, natural pain killers.  If you have a willing partner, sexual intercourse can flood your body with these endorphins.  Other conditions have spells of pain that come and go, but might be endured rather than take heavy narcotics for pain that will pass by the time the pain-killer begins to work.  Still others may be managed by mental techniques, such as re-living a pleasant memory, or eating an especially enjoyable food.  Of course, if the pain is so sever you can't manage it any other way, that's what medicine is for.  If you're dealing with terminal illness, use the meds as often as needed within your doctor's guidelines.  If you're caring for someone suffering some types of dementia, it may be easier to medicate them than to explain the other tips and tricks.  You have to use what resources are available.

Managing Personal And Family Resources:

If you have a chronic illness, you already know about managing energy resources.  I have diabetes, hypertension and asthma.  Between blood and breath, I almost never feel like doing anything...even wake up tired.  Still, the only thing that keeps my weight and blood sugar under control and the blood pressure down is I do it whether I feel like it or not.  In fact, I feel better after I exercise than before...we all do...because of the endorphins mentioned earlier. 
For chronic illness, when it comes to resources, use yours first.  Never let someone else do for you what you can do for yourself.  This accomplishes at least 3 things for you:
1.  It provides you a sense of accomplishment and worth which helps keep a fighting attitude.
2.  It keeps you healthier, slowing progression of the disease.
3.  It saves family and other resources for when you really need them.

If you're the one caring for a chronically ill loved one, I can relate.  I was in charge of my mother while she suffered the last 2 years of COPD, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease.  You may not know it, yet, but you must manage your personal resources, as well.  Take care of yourself, first, so you can have what it takes to take care of them.  If you can afford it, have the routine cooking, feeding and cleaning done by others, so you have energy to take care of your loved one, close friends and family.  Get days off and time away during the day or you will burn out.  It isn't going to do anyone any good if you "hit the wall" while trying to help someone.

Learning you or a loved one has a chronic illness can be some of the most devastating news.  I was frozen for a couple weeks after my diabetes diagnosis, tempted to just quit.  Still, most chronic diseases allow us to live a normal, productive happy life for years...if we don't give up. 

If you're looking for help with a chronic illness, you can find that help with God.  You can renew your body, mind and spirit with God's help.  If you want His help, go to Healing From God.

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