My ideal day in? Now that's an interesting topic that has changed over the course of the past 2 1/2 years. Fighting the life-altering disease, Gastroparesis, has changed how I view "ideal days in".
If I went back to the time period before I became chronically ill, I would relax at home by spending time with my children. If I had a bad day or an exhausting week, I would recharge my body and mind by playing baseball or basketball outside in the yard with my children, taking a trip to the beach, fishing, and if warm enough swimming. My nights would be spent watching a movie with the family.
Now rewind to 2 years ago - shortly after my Gastroparesis diagnosis and feeding tube placement. During this time, I was still dealing with symptoms of nausea and abdominal pain - but otherwise "living" life pretty well. I was able to teach, attend children's sporting events and practices, and take vacations. To relax, I enjoyed spending time outside watching the kids play and/or swim, playing catch, watching movies, and even a little fishing. All of these activities kept me busy, but allowed me to distract myself from my health condition and everyday stresses. On days that were more difficult physically or emotionally, I would curl up on my couch and read a book or take a nap.
Now, bouncing back to the past 8 months, my life has drastically changed. My symptoms have increased drastically. I am in constant fatigue from fighting never-ending nausea. My abdominal pains continue, some days worse than others. Now my intestines have decided to join my stomach and not work properly, which is awful and tiring. My nutrition is non-existent as well. I struggle daily to receive any nutrition, even from my tube. Due to lack of nutrition, I have been limited by my Dr. to 5 min only rides on my stationary bike. I have been out on medical leave ever since my last hospitalization at the end of Oct. Not being able to return to work was very depressing until I discovered the best ways to cope with the situation, which will hopefully change before the new school year rolls around.
It's strange how things change. Just a few years ago, I looked forward to days/weekends when I could just relax at the house, sleep in, watch movies, and spend time outside with the family. Now, I'm unable to work or play outside, at least until we can figure out how to convince my body to tolerate more nutrition.
An outsider, looking into my world, would perceive that I spend all day everyday at "rest". When in actuality, I very seldom rest or better yet, recharge. To keep my mind mentally strong and away from depression, I spend the majority of time on my computer advocating for Gastroparesis awareness and trying to help others in numerous Gastroparesis and Feeding Tube Support Groups. It's crazy how "working" actually helps me "rest" better than "resting" right now.
However, this "relaxation" technique does not always work, especially on my "really rough" days. On those days, I curl up on the recliner with a heating pad on my abdomen and Contemporary Christian Music playing through my ear buds. If that doesn't work, I will try taking a long hot bath, while listening to music. Sadly, I sometimes have to just let the tears roll until things improve and then pick up the pieces and try to relax after the worst is over.
When my children are home from school, I do my best to spend time with them whether it's watching movies on TV or just talking. If I'm having a "good or decent" day you may find me sitting outside in the sun, attending their ball game, grocery shopping, going to a movie, or even going to a restaurant with them. (Unfortunately, I seem to be having too few of the "good" days and if I'm not careful living a "good day" can consequently quickly change to a rough day.)
So as you see, my life has drastically been changed as a result of Gastroparesis. I have had to learn by trial and error how to best relax nowadays. And apparently still have a lot to discover.