Friday, September 16, 2016

Facing Forward: Lisa

Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible chronic illnesses. The goal of the series is to see how we are similar and how we are different - and to remind us to keep moving forward because we aren't alone!

Name: Lisa
Location: Bloomfield, Colorado
Diagnosis & Age at Diagnosis: Ulcerative Colitis, age 30. Pancreatitis, age 26. Degenerative Disc Disease, Age 36. Osteoarthritis, age 36.

How are you currently treating your conditions?
I take medicines for flare up for the UC. I also try to watch what I eat. If I eat a lot of fried food, I have issues. I do not take NSAIDs as that flares it up too. For the Pancreatitis, I do not drink any alcohol and watch my blood sugar all the time. I have to be careful so that I don't become diabetic. For the DDD and osteoarthritis, I have to be careful with how much I do on one day. I have had 4 surgeries for the DDD, so that limits me on how much I can do anyways. I can't bend over to pick things up and I have to have help with things like tying my shoes sometimes. I really try to listen to my body and do what it tells me to do.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?
Trying to be a mom of an autistic child, a mom to a 10 year old, and a Police officer's wife all while trying to take care of myself properly. I tried so hard in the beginning not to "look" disabled, and now I realize that if I am being what my body tells me to be, I am disabled and that's ok.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for managing everyday tasks?
Self-help is so important. The more you are an advocate for your body, the better it will treat you. I try to listen and do what it is telling me, like drive in the car instead of walking to pick my daughter up from school. Soak in a bath tub when the joints are stiff and hurting. Heating pad when the weather changes and the metal is cold. And most of all, get as much sleep as my body says so.

How do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
My family helps me get through the really bad times. I wouldn't have made it this far without them, especially my husband who helps me out so much every day. I try to be as positive as possible and know that there will be crappy days. I just face those head on and fight my way through them.

If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
I will be ok and it's ok to be scared. I am a fighter and I would tell myself to fight like hell and make every day count.

Do you have a blog you would like to share?
My blog is Pain, Love, Hope. It is all about the pain of having chronic pain, things I love, and hope for tomorrow.

Would you like to be featured on Facing Forward? If so, please send an email to  

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