Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

Monday, February 12, 2018

5 Side Effects of Chronic Illness that No One Talks About

The next five Monday's I'm going to go in-depth into the 5 Side Effects of Chronic Illness that No One Talks About and ways to help combat them.

When I was diagnosed with Adhesive Arachnoiditis I was unprepared for the permanent changes I was going to have to make.  My disease is rare, no cure, no treatment, progressive, and lifelong.

I definitely did not expect these following side effects and wish I had known some of these before starting my own treatment journey.

My bujo get in shape goals...not losing weight.
Losing weight is just a good side effect.
1. Weight Gain

It's a combination of prescription medicine, stress, eating and overeating your feelings of grief, age, gender, and lack of activity.

You will gain weight.

Next Monday, we will talk about how to lose weight when you have a chronic illness or pain.


2. Hormonal Changes

Gotta love those prescription medicines...and in my case, my actual disease also alters the pituitary gland.

Your medicine might be altering your hormones and/or your thyroid, and if you have been under stress, your adrenal system.

Your thyroid and adrenal system play a major role in hormone production.

For instance, when I got started with my functional and regenerative medicine doctor I had stage 3 adrenal failure.  I had depleted my cortisol levels because of the level of stress I had experienced in the last two years, as well as, my uncontrollable pain levels.


3. Moisture Barrier Depletion

Super, extra dry skin where your moisture barrier is compromised because of the medication you’re taking.  I took 5 steroid packs in a three month period.  Then I was a guinea pig for various other medications to find one or a combination that helped with my pain.

All of the different chemicals in modern prescriptions and the massive amounts in which I was taking them gave my skin a hydrolipidic deficiency.  In other words, it damaged my skin's moisture barrier.

Dry skin is characterized by a lack of water and lipids. As a result, the skin exhibits signs that can have a strong impact on quality of life:

rough to the touch,
less supple,
uncomfortable,
feelings of tightness,
itching,
irritation

If the skin suffers from dryness, it is because it has lost its ability to retain water, which evaporates. Surface lipids, produced in smaller quantities, no longer form a homogeneous barrier.

Because the skin barrier no longer performs its function as effectively, it allows external aggressors and irritants (pollution, allergen particles, bacteria, etc.) to penetrate deeper into the skin. Skin thus becomes more vulnerable and reactive, and is more rapidly and more strongly irritated.

If you have a chronic condition, you are already inflamed.  This just adds on more inflammation, unfortunately.

4. Basic Tasks Become Difficult

Getting up, getting ready for the day, emptying the dishwasher, making coffee and breakfast...

Then dying on the couch and not being able to move for the next hour or two depending on the day.

I wasn't prepared for the absolute energy drain that is my chronic lifelong disease. I hate that I can think back to times when my simple morning routine didn't leave me drained for hours.

I have been able to reclaim some of my energy after working hard for a year with diet change, exercise, pain management, and alternative treatments.  I'm still not at the level of normalcy I experienced before Arachnoiditis, but I'm better than I was last year.

5. Addictions Worsen or Comeback

I'm not talking about drug or alcohol addictions, but that is possible and probable if you have had that challenge in the past.

I'm talking about finding any way to make you feel better or happy.

The 'high' factor.

That may come in the form of binging Oreos, weekly trips to Game Stop, new clothes every week or month, the 50 shades of lipstick in your makeup kit, overloading on craft supplies, or all of the above.

You are upset, sad, and grieving.

Experiencing loss of yourself is just like losing a loved one.  Addictive behaviors will show themselves.

Me.  Mine was food, clothes, and new fabric every time I went to JoAnns. It made me feel good at the time, but oh so worse when it came to seeing all the places I spent the money that should definitely go to medical expenses.

Over the next five Monday's I'm going to go in depth about each of these topics and how I have personally dealt with them. Stay tuned for more and sign up under the follow by email to get the content delivered to your inbox.

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