Why Chronic Illness Is Like A Marathon

When I was a child I ran cross country. In fact I was really great at it and enjoyed running long distances. I always competed in the longest running events at high school and although I wasn’t the fastest I always completed my races. As an adult I loved to walk. Walking is something I love more than anything. However due to my Adrenal Insufficiency and chronic illness I am currently too unwell to walk more than a few steps at a time.

It’s really frustrating for me and really difficult. I’m having a rough patch and although I I can get around the home okay, I am struggling and it’s all due to dizzyness and weakness. I am simply very unwell.

Seeing the Marathon on TV and social media was both interesting and bitter sweet. I was pleased for Mo Farrah who hit a record, amused by the crazy outfits worn by certain celebrities including Katie Price who was dressed up as a Lung. Don’t ask me why, I didn’t bother reading the papers which covered this. However the one thing that really hit did make me feel sad was seeing a few Mummy bloggers who had completed the Marathon. As happy as I was for them, I was sad for me.

I wish I could run down the street, I wish I could walk down the street. Some days I can but this week I can’t and it’s really bugging me. I could say I’m glad I am not using the wheelchair right now but the reality is, if I had to go out and about we would have to use the wheelchair, I’m just not using it as I’m just not well enough to go out.

I can always write when I am unwell. I Don’t understand why or how, it’s like magic. The words pour out and as sick as I may feel or as dizzy as I get when I do stand up, I can blurt my feelings out like no ones business and so I am.

I know that I will never be able to run a Marathon or go for a long walk to the a park. My life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency. I did manage to walk the dogs a few times with my husband this year and on one occassion I even managed to walk my daughter to the zebra crossing. They were the best days in the whole year. I managed to do these walks about 3-4 times in the past year which is not much but it gives me hope I’ll be able to do it again.

I even managed to go to London earlier this year and catch a train to go see my Doctor. However right now I am back to relying on my husband for any transport I may need to appointments or any where else. My health does fluctuate so I know this is a temporary set back and I will improve, but how far I improve is the question.

I guess seeing others complete a marathon reminded me of what I cannot do and it hurt. It hurt bad and caused me to feel sad. I thought after five years I had accepted my “new normal” but I don’t think I can ever 100% accept it and I think I am still very sad for the abilities I  have lost.

I will see my GP on Thursday and do tests to try and find out what is setting me back.

I may not be running the London Marathon but I am running a Marathon, mine is the Chronic Illness Marathon and it involves endurance and stamina and mental strength to keep going despite the sickness I feel and the struggles I face and I do think that makes me great!

Angela Milnes

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4 Comments

  1. I’m sorry the marathon has brought up such sadness, but you are right, you are running a marathon daily just to get through the day. Our bodies are going through incredible exertion due to our conditions (I have Severe ME/cfs) and that is an achievement to celebrate!

  2. “You are trying to run a marathon like a sprint,” was something my therapist said to me in one of my very first sessions when I was struggling with adjusting to my ‘new life’ – it made it easier to get my head around the concept of pacing myself, as you literally would in a marathon. In New Zealand we say “Kia Kaha!” – Stay Strong! It is more about mental strength, which we need so much of when we are faced with a life we didn’t sign up for. Kia Kaha, Angela x Lowen @ livingpositivelywithdisability.com

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