Achoo!

Dealing with chronic disease forces you to expect the unexpected. New symptoms and weird manifestations of the disorders pop up all the time. Occasionally, a non-related medical issue will present and you have to figure out if it is truly a new symptom or a manifestation stemming from a previous condition. As you know, all those aches and pains that encapsulate chronic diseases show up in wildly diverse ways. 

One of my daily symptoms is nausea. It can be severe or mild, but it is always there. Because of this, when I’m coming down with the flu or even food poisoning, I have to rely on other indicators to figure out if I am sick. Does my body hurt in a different way? Which body parts are inflamed? Are my typical treatment methods unhelpful? Is this causing an unusual mental and emotional reaction? What is my instinct saying?

If it is a temporary symptom or illness, great! That means there is one less medical drama for you to worry about. Unfortunately, even short-term symptoms can trigger dormant issues. Once nerves are stimulated and pathways between the brain and the physical symptom are laid, you might face new permanent triggers and pains. 

A month ago, I broke my toe. I have broken this particular toe once before. Having EDS, alongside numbness from neuropathy, makes my extremities easy game for injuries. While I knew that this pain was different than my usual pain, my brain still sent out signals to the rest of my nervous system that it was under attack. Everything flared. Eventually, the acute pain of a broken bone and bruised tissue went away. But, now I have a new stabbing pain that happens in that toe. I already had burning, stabbing, and shocking nerve pain in that foot. There shouldn’t be room for new nerve pain. However, my brain is really great at forging those pathways. So, a new symptom (in this case pain) is the result of a temporary medical problem.

We are a group of people who are hyper-aware of our bodies. In fact, if you have taken the time to really dive deep into your ailments, you probably know your body better than most. We learn which twinges and pains are a part of our daily lives. New symptoms, especially dramatic ones, can throw a wrench in the fragile balance we practice. I’ve found that using an intensive mitigation program to slow and stop new symptoms works best. 

If I feel a sore throat or runny nose coming on, I immediately go into cocoon mode. Lots of fluids, anti-inflammatory foods, rest, and any proven supplement alongside a low-stress environment helps me heal. My body will fight and recover, but my brain is the part I’m really trying to soothe. I don’t want it to go into alert mode. It’s almost like singing the brain a lullaby, “Hush now. Everything is fine. Rest now”.

We can’t stop new symptoms. Catching common colds in inevitable (especially if you have a weakened immune system). Bodies are weird and you’ll end up with an eye twitch that lasts for a week, a cramp in your abdominal, or sciatic pain out of nowhere. There is no avoiding this. It simply comes down to managing these symptoms and harnessing all that amazing self-awareness to keep your chronic conditions in check while you move through the temporary.

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