Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Fight or Live

 "Do you fight this disease or do you live with it?"

I was recently presented with this question. And to be quite honest, I gave no answer. I had to think about it for a while before I could answer it. 

Chronic illnesses are very complicated by nature. When you're diagnosed with an illness that is serious and are told that there are only treatments to try to control it, it's devastating. That diagnosis can make your life flip, even if the symptoms already seemed to turn the world upside down. It can be confusing and there are even times you might not know what's really going on. But if there is anything I remember clearly from the time of my diagnosis, it was discussing treatment options that can making living with arthritis easier. There was little talk of fighting, so to speak.

I think a lot of the time we use the terms "living with," "deal with" or "try to control" to describe what treatment for chronic illnesses are for. Very few flirt with the idea of saying "to fight." It's not purposeful, it's just what people get use to saying. They may even think it implies the same: It's the case of thinking one thing but saying something else. But some people are very clear when they say "live with," and others "fight." Living with is very passive, fighting is very aggressive. To think, those are just words. 

In reality, I think most of us live at a happy medium in the idea of fighting and living with. We treat ourselves in many ways to control chronic illness- be it through medicines, surgery, diets, exercise or combinations of those. We fight through treatments. But we live too. We live because the chronic implies that if we stopped life for illness, it would stop for a very long time. There is no choice in whether life goes on, but it is our choice to continue to live. It's a choice we must take advantage of when we are able.

There's no fight or live. It's both.

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