Monday, January 25, 2016

Beauty and the "Beast!" An Interstitial Cystitis Patient Speaks Out

Britani Warner
IC patient Britani Warner, "I will not let my illness take over all of who I am."
From Julie: I am the first to admit that one of the benefits of working in the interstitial cystitis online communities of the ICN Forum and my Facebook pages (Confident Choices® and Interstitial Cystitis Diet) is that I have met some fantastically resilient people who are not shy about sharing their chronic illness stories and coping strategies. One of my new friends, Britani Warner, agreed to share her story with you today. Now, we aren't saying that every patient has to wear make-up to feel better, but as you read this story by feisty Britani, think of what you CAN do to normalize your life as a chronic illness patient. Are you a musician and miss singing or playing your instrument? Are you an artist who has abandoned your brushes and paints? Or are you an aspiring chef who has become discouraged by the IC Diet? How can you reclaim these parts of yourself? Let's let Britani inspire us!

Britani and her family of pups!
Britani Warner: Let's face it. Living with a chronic illness is exhausting. The pain, fatigue, and side-effects from medications can keep us pretty worn out and not feeling like doing much of anything, much less taking care of our personal appearance. However, especially bad days, I have found that if I just put on some makeup and let my awesome purple hair down, my outlook on the day is much brighter.  How could you be sad with purple hair, right?!

Being sick can make you look sick, and when you look in the mirror and see those dark circles under your eyes, it can be quite disheartening. Throwing on some cosmetics to cover those pesky dark spots and brighten those tired eyes can make a huge difference in your mood for the day. Even if your body hurts and you're tired, looking good can help you feel good, even if just by a tiny little bit (and that tiny little bit counts a whole lot when you live in pain each and every day).

On those days when all I want to do is lay on the couch in my pajamas, just painting on some cat eyes and applying several layers of mascara (because we all want three-inch long lashes, right ladies!) brightens my mood. The way I see it, if I'm gonna be a sickie, at least I can be pretty. My tired, aching body will not reflect in my face. I dare people to say to me, "But you don't look sick!" I will not let my illness take over all of who I am. Taking care of my appearance not only makes me feel a little better when the "beast" of chronic illness rears its ugly head, but it also allows my face to reflect who I truly am on the inside: a beautiful warrior.

 Chronic illness will not win this fight.

Julie Beyer, MA, RDN
Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate

Helping Yourself Is the First Step to Getting Well

For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.

For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder

For health care workers:  Interstitial Cystitis: A Guide for Nutrition Educators

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