“The hardest part about chronic illness is the chronic part.” ~That Coach Nikki

On days like today, when Im feeling especially exhausted after a hard couple of days dealing with symptoms this rings truest.

There are days [if you’re lucky weeks/months] that will pass by and you blissfully forget that you live with a chronic illness. Surely enough, at least for me, it will send me a not so gentle reminder.

Since I have cirrhosis, there have been some changes to my everyday health and overall wellness. One of those changes is hepatic encephalopathy (HE). HE is the loss of brain function when a damaged liver doesn’t remove toxins from the blood. Apparently, I’ve had it for a while, but it was confirmed through blood work over the summer. It affects everyone differently, but for me, I noticed it in relation to work. I was making simple mistakes I’ve never made, I was losing my train of thought mid-sentence, I was forgetting other data, client information, etc. I was also very dizzy, confused, and even more tired.
I mentioned it to my doctor who didn’t think much of it, but knowing myself like I do, I insisted on checking my blood levels. It was discovered that I have high levels of ammonia in my blood (a sign of HE). One of the ways to reverse the HE and remove the ammonia from my body, is to take a nasty syrupy medicine called lactulose.The way lactulose works is to add water to your stool, causing you to….. well, poop out the ammonia. I’ve been on this medicine for months now. One of the unfortunate side effects of this medicine is diarrhea. And, I think I went about a dozen times yesterday. Needless to say, I am wiped out.

As I lay here with little to no energy in bed, I am reminded that chronic illness is chronic. It doesn’t stop, there are small breaks, but not many. It’s hard to continuously face the challenges, symptoms, or other ill effects of a chronic illness. Today, I’m having a hard day.

But, tomorrow may be better. And I can only be compassionate to myself now and look forward to when it is better.

What about you? I always love to hear from you.

Lots of love, Nikki

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