Dating, being in a relationship or being married to someone who suffers with a chronic illness is challeneging, beyond challeneging!
Would you be up for the challenge?
So here is a quick check list, as you need to consider everything before going in blind and hurting the sufferer as well as yourself when you hit & face challeneges you didn’t know would come along or you would have to deal with.
Here are 10 things you would need to consider:
1. Being flexible; can you work with being flexible?
-Can you understand and accept that sometimes plans may have to be delayed, cancelled or rearranged?
-Are you okay with leaving early or turning up late if your loved one is slower getting ready or begins feeling unwell at the event and needs to head home.
-Are you prepared to eat and shop in different places to avoid any food reactions and to ensure everyone picks up the food they want.
2. Planning; planning these days seems a little alien. People are always on the last minute to organise events, meet ups and days out. This isn’t ideal or easy for someone suffering with a chronic illness. They have to ensure:
- they rest up in preparation for the event.
- they have everything they need for the event ( food, clothes, presents, cards etc).
- they have the energy to be able to do what they want to do.
This can take days and/or even weeks if it is a bigger event. You can’t just ring up and drop in, take them for dinner, go to a party. They want to enjoy the little socialising they do these days and that means serious preparation. This doesn’t mean they don’t love to do the things above but rather than an hour before, plan in advance. Think ahead and work out a schedule.
3. Good days and bad days; the good days will be great you can manage to make it through a whole event, do more activities but you must be respectful and accept that on the bad days our mood may be lower, we may not be full of life and giggles or be able to go to the event which we had planned. We can’t control which days are going to be good and which days will be bad.
- Alternatives. It’s always wise to have a plan B. So if the orginal plan has to be put on the back burner you have another idea to bring to the table. This will mean the world to your loved one. As it kills them having to miss out on so much. So if a shopping trip is simply too much, offer the idea of a cinema trip, a coffee in a coffee shop etc.
- Celebrate the good days and make the best of the bad days. Bad days can often cause great upset so try to be as upbeat and raise all the positives of the day for your loved one to realise it’s not all bad.
4. A positive person? Are you and can you be a positive person regardless of everything?
- can you make light out of the dark days.
- can you bring laughter when tears flow.
- can you exchange negatives for positives.
- can you be emotional and open.
- can you inspire over being judgemental and critical.
- do you have inner strength to deal with the good, bad, joy and hurt.
5. Being creative; can you think outside the box? Are you able to find solutions and bring ideas to the table.
- hobbies - what might your loved one enjoy.
- packing - can you fit in medicines, wheel chairs, walking aids.
- days out - is parking far away? Is it wheel chair friendly? Can you store medicines?
- events - sitting, time frame, cater to everyone.
- common sense - not walking the long way round, finding the shortcuts, seat your loved one first, no bumpy roads that may increase nausea or pain.
6. Research; knowledge is power. You can never be too educated or on the ball. Knowing your stuff will mean everything to your loved one and they will feel a lot more comfortable being in your care.
- read articles
- read books
- watch documentaries
- keep up with health updates ( newsletters on the disease and illness )
7. Attend medical appointments; it’s not always possible but if you can, being there and supporting your loved one through often daunting appointments is very important. It really would mean everything to them.
8. Get to know your loved one; it is important you know your loved one more than your normal dates. You need to be open to knowing them inside out. That way you can know when they are:
-really suffering, and understand
-when they need an extra hand and when they are ok
-if they are struggling
-if they are happy or upset
- who their close friends are
-whom they would call in times of need
-why medications they are on
-what they require when out and about.
There is a lot to learn but you should be willing to know everything and spend the time, being patient with your loved one knowing as much as you can.
9. Patience; this is a trait that doesn’t come easy to many. In the game of chronic illness everything is long winded, lengthy, time consuming and there are zero shortcuts and quick fixes. You must accept this.
-Illness and blips won’t be a 24 hour affair more like a week or two. Meaning plans and appointments may have to be delayed or cancelled.
- hospital stays may be extended, delayed or rescheduled.
- progress may be slow and painful.
- blips are likely.
10. Hospital and the doctors may be your favourite date place; be prepared to see more clinics, doctors, medicines, treatments and consultants than you ever deemed possible. Understand that your meal out may mean a meal in a hospital cafe and a day out may be to the local doctors where you spend 2 hours catching up in the waiting room.
If you can handle all this then, wow you are one hero!
You should be proud of yourself for being so strong and be taking on a challenge so, SO many would run from.
You are rare and so special.
Whether you are a sufferer whom is lucky to have a supportive girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife just know you are the luckiest girl/boy ever and do all you can to show your thanks and appreciate all they do. If you are the girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife to a sufferer then go you! Keep up the good work - you are one in a billion and stronger than ever. Or you are planning on beginning to date someone whom suffers with a chronic illness please step back a moment and understand everything you need to consider and will be taking on.
I hope the pointers above helps, helps you realise the challenge you have the strength to take on.
Thank you for reading.
Feeling sluggish and rubbish when you have woken up? Get boosting up on bananas the more the better - they will help settle your stomach, boosting digestion, they are a mood enhancer, they will give you the energy you need and keep you full. Buy my book for banana receipe ideas.
Wake up every morning and ATLEAST have one glass of lemon water before doing anything else! Ideally try to drink a litre of water. The lemon wakes up your digestive system ready for the day and has great cleansing properties.
Check your dairy and meat intake - dairy can sit in your system for up to seven days unable to digest properly. Meaning other foods also get neglected and nurtients aren't absorbed properly and you feel extremely bloated. Go and smell your food bin, your stomach will be in that state. Rotting foods in your belly - hmm nice.
DO NOT FEAR CARBS - THEY ARE NOT THE ENEMY! CARB UP!!
Bananas, Rice, Potatoes, Leafy Greens, Corn, Beans, Lentils etc PACK THEM IN GO MAD.
NEVER COUNT CALORIES - NEVER RESTRICT!! These restriction 'starvation' diets who tell you to only eat 500 calories a day then have a treat day - where you binge out and eat WAY too much, is simply messing up your metabolism and on your binge days yours body stores all the fat meaning you gain weight because it knows it is going to go back into starvation mode and needs to hold onto every little thing it can. HELLO WEIGHT GAIN.
Life is too short not to live it to the full, making yourself happy.