I used to view acceptance of my chronic illness as a sign of defeat, a passive resignation to all that being seriously ill forced me to lose. I’ve come to realize that continuously attempting to rebel against my illness-imposed limitations is ultimately my worst response.

Acceptance doesn’t mean that I stubbornly lie down, allowing chronic illness to steamroll my life. It means that I graciously find that gentle balance between all of the things that I used to be able to accomplish, and what I am now realistically capable of doing.

It is an ongoing, daily process. Some days, I like to think that I am successful in accepting my “new normal.” Other days, I realize that I fail miserably.

I think that we typically cycle through the stages of grief, multiple times, as we adjust to the complexities of chronic illness. Chronic illnesses themselves are anything but static; they frequently change in severity as time elapses.

Their symptoms often change in frequency, intensity, and persistence. Medical treatments themselves may induce an entirely new set of symptoms to which adjustment is necessary.

Superimposed upon all these changes is the aging process itself. Please be gentle with yourself if you are dealing with all of the challenges of accepting chronic illness in your life. If you are healthy, please practice patience with others who are not.

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