Today concludes Vitamin B12 Awareness Week and so I thought I’d share my coping strategies for dealing with this debilitating, chronic illness.
- Educate yourself as much as possible. Find experts, fellow patients, books and medical research articles, any resources available! This is critical!
- Don’t be afraid to advocate for proper treatment for yourself. This is so important. And if you aren’t feeling heard or understood, find another doctor that will listen.
- Physical therapy can make a huge difference in dealing with debilitating physical symptoms. When I began physical therapy earlier this year, I was using a walker or a wheelchair. Now I’m down to using a cane. It still sucks, but it’s progress. Also, physical therapy has taught me easier methods to stand and sit, get in and out of a car, and more. These make a difference.
- As much as you can (and if you need it, obviously), make your home handicap accessible. I got lucky on this one as I’d already set up our home to be very accessible for my dear Mama’s benefit. Grab bars around the toilet, a seat and more grab bars in the shower, railings and grab bars everywhere!
- Learn to pace yourself. This is a difficult one for me because the tendency is to try to get it all done, whatever “it” is. Reading about the Spoon Theory helped, but really this one just takes practice. Accepting my own limitations wasn’t easy.
- Simplify errands by using a delivery service. It’s physically too difficult for me to purchase bulk items at the store, so I use GoogleExpress to have supplies from Costco delivered to our door! We also use Amazon for whatever errands possible.
- Whenever I make a meal, I try to make double so we have leftovers. Sometimes I freeze those and then we can rotate meals better. This was also helpful when I was planning ahead for the holidays and trying to spread out the cooking workload.
- Establish a routine for your treatment. In my case, I have a whole routine that I follow to help me face my needle phobia and give myself daily injections.
- Keep a symptom diary — even if you just note your worst three symptoms. This helps to refer back to when you want to see your progress. It’s also another great tool for advocating for yourself.
- Most importantly, make sure you find a support network. Friends and family may not always understand what you’re going through so find a support group that you like with knowledgeable people running it. Also consider finding a therapist, this helped me to deal with the feelings I had about how this disease was changing my life. And don’t forget to breathe!!!
Day 269 of 366.
What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments!
Note to my Nosy Parker readers: Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a wide variety of symptoms. A Vitamin B12 deficiency can kill you and before it does, it can truly wreak havoc on your entire body. It is a serious, chronic illness. If you’ve got any of the symptoms in this graphic, please visit the websites listed for more information. (Special thanks to a B12 buddy in the support group for making this graphic!) Ask your doctor to test your B12 level BEFORE taking any supplements on your own or you’ll skew the results! Also, I am not a doctor, nurse or scientist. I am simply sharing my personal experiences and what I’ve learned.