Writing & Chronic Illness

This blogpost is very close to my heart and I debated writing it for a long time. 

Let me start out by saying all chronic illnesses are different. No one experiences the same pain, the same thoughts about pain, and how to get through the day. Please keep this in mind. This post is not an end all be all and like I said— it’s personal. 

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in April of 2016 at 19 years old. I underwent my first surgery in March and the biopsy revealed it was cancer. A few days later, I had my second surgery. Fastfoward two months, I  was undergoing radiation. My life hasn’t been the same since then and it never will be. 

Thyroid cancer isn’t widely known. I didn’t think of it as a chronic illness until a few weeks after I was diagnosed. For the rest of my life, I rely on a pill I take every morning. The thyroid cartilage does A LOT of stuff, things I couldn’t even begin to imagine. This pill attempts to mirror what my thyroid did, but it never will completely. The meds have to be changed constantly (for me, at least. I haven’t been stabalized yet). Sometimes, everything sucks. It’s horrible. I don’t even know myself. But that is a different topic for a different day. 

So how does this affect writing? 

I say in good ways and bad. The bad ways are obvious. Chronic pain can happen in a variety of places in the body. Headaches, emotional instability, eye twitching, irratibility… the list could go on. None of those things put anyone in the writing mood. 

If you have a chronic illness, you may relate to this. Some days, I wake up and know immediately I’m going to have an awful, terrible, no good, very bad day. From the minute I wake up. I don’t write that day. I get through that day. And that is enough. 

If I didn’t write on all of my bad days, I would never write. A lot of having a chronic illness is learning about yourself. Exploring your pain and learning the worst and the “best.” It’s a test. What can I handle? 

The good part about writing with a chronic illness? 

If I had to choose a silver lining, which is a new goal of mine these days, it would be accomplishing things I didn’t think were possible. Having a horrible day and sitting down to write anyway, pouring out those words when I thought I couldn’t. Sometimes my illness makes me feel like nothing is possible. Everyday I get to prove to myself that it is. 

Until next time, Allison 


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