Whac-A-Mole and Multiple Chronic Illnesses

I’m sure you’re familiar with the theme park game known as Whac-A-Mole. Contestants are challenged to literally hit a board full of pesky moles, that quickly pop up out of a series of holes, with a rubber mallet.

Although appearing deceptively simple, those wildly persistent moles rapidly pop up, in totally random patterns. Eliminating their unwanted presence is no easy task! Actually, there could be no better metaphor for what it’s like to juggle the management of multiple chronic conditions.

Just as one illness appears relatively stabilized, symptoms of another one will rear their ugly heads, as if competing for undivided attention. There have been times when absolutely every single mole has raised its head in my life, so to speak. On top of it all, my trusty mallet has unexpectedly broken.

Chronic illnesses do not remain static over time. There may be considerable variation in their symptom severities. Relapsing-remitting MS is notorious for this presentation.

Symptoms of a chronic illness may also fluctuate in severity as a result of developing tolerance to the very medications that once managed them much more effectively. External factors, such as being in an excessively hot setting, may cause transient symptom worsening.

Chronic illnesses occur in bodies and minds that experience multiple changes due to normal aging processes. All of these factors serve to make coping with chronic illness a very dynamic process. May your mallet always remain strong and reliable as you encounter those random moles that refuse submission.

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