When you live with a chronic illness, it’s really easy to fall into fixed routines and very specific patterns of living.

And it makes sense, because routines are extremely helpful in managing chronic illness.

But there’s an unintended consequence to living this way. You start to develop beliefs and assumptions about the world that can limit your quality of life in unnecessary ways.

I’ll me give you a personal example.

I’ve always been very careful with my diet. Sodium is a big symptom trigger for me, and as a result there are certain kinds of food that I avoid entirely – Chinese, Barbecue, Deli, Soups, just to name a few.

It works for me because these foods are usually loaded with sodium.

But I LOVE all of those foods I’ve given up. I’m a huge foodie and Chinese food is delicious.

Over time, I have adapted to this particular lifestyle change. You can still eat a lot of great things on a low sodium diet, but something happened to me recently that completely changed the way I think about food.

An Impossible Dinner:

A few weeks ago, some of my family was in town and we were all getting together for dinner, but this time, we were ordering in.

It’s always tough for me when we order food. Being the one person with dietary restrictions complicates things when you’re ordering take out for 10 people. But my family understands this, and they usually do a good job accommodating me.

So, imagine my surprise when I was told we were ordering barbecue. Because remember, I don’t eat barbecue at all.

But my dad had called around and found a wonderful barbecue place that doesn’t use salt in their dry rub, and let us order everything with sauce on the side.

I can’t begin to explain to you how happy this made me. I haven’t had good barbecue in so many years. I didn’t even know it a possibility. If my dad hadn’t thought to call around, I never would have had this experience.

And as simple as this example is, it made me question everything. What else had I written out of my life based on nothing more than a bad assumption? What else I had overlooked for all these years?

Thinking back, I know there was a lot.

Quality of Life:

It also made me realize something important.

When you live with such a complicated and potentially debilitating health condition, big medical breakthroughs are not always in the cards. But little things like this can make such a difference in your quality of life.

So, what assumptions have you made about your health? What beliefs are holding you back from living a more fulfilling life?

And are there truly no exceptions to the rule? Is there really no way to do the things you want to do but believe you can’t?

Or are you limiting yourself unnecessarily, like I was?

Because there is most likely a way to do many of the things you want to do.

And just because we think otherwise, doesn’t make it true.

  1. Thanks for the post, which I plan to share with family and friends. Many people don’t understand what it’s like for someone who lives with Meniere’s Disease and must be on a low-sodium diet. Although it’s nearly impossible to order anything other than a plain baked potato or a salad sans dressing when eating out, certain restaurants have offered to make me an unseasoned omelet or hamburger. That simple kindness is much appreciated, especially when I’m traveling.

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