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How to Build Yourself Back Up After Getting Sick

Everyday practices that help me free my mind in the face of chronic illness.

When you’re dealing with a chronic illness, life can be really frustrating. It can make you feel limited and try to stop you from living to your fullest potential.

I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension (PH), which is a disorder that’s characterized by high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. It’s a chronic, progressive disease, so it’s supposed to get worse over time. But hey, I was also supposed to die six years ago – and I’m still here, living my life!

But I’m not simply living. I’m living with a newfound sense of meaning, purpose, and passion. I’ve learned how to manage my condition and I truly feel that the challenges I have faced and continue to face have really helped me grow.  I believe that all illnesses are really one and the same and if you feed your body and mind the right ingredients, your body has no choice but to heal.

I did this by incorporating a few key principles into my life that have made me feel so much better along the way and I believe have really helped my body heal. My hope is that they can be of help to you, too.

5 Key Principles

I created 5 key principles that I apply to my life on a daily basis:  

    Nutritional Lifestyle

I follow a low-fat, organic, plant-based diet that’s free of salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Essentially, free of all the fun stuff. But when you choose to see food as fuel that actually nourishes your body, and you start to actually feel better as a result of what you choose to eat, you start to really understand the power that food has.

    Exercise

I’m on my treadmill for at least 20 minutes a day, and then I lift weights. While exercise has many positive effects on the body and mind, I feel that it’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to the cues it’s giving you. So I’m always careful not to push myself too far too fast, or to work my body too hard. I focus on working my way up slowly. As an example, when I was first diagnosed, I could barely walk from the couch to the bathroom. I’ve managed to build up my stamina over time.

    Mindset

I make sure that I keep my mind in the right place, and I choose not to listen when I’m being told that my condition will worsen. It’s important to stay positive and not pay too much attention to negative thoughts or allow fear-based thinking to take over.

    Creative Expression

I write music and I perform. When I’m creating, I live in a world in which PH doesn’t exist.  Feel free to check out my website to find out more about the kind of music I create. I believe that finding a creative outlet, one that enables you to express your emotions, is incredibly healing.

    Friends and Family

I make a point of spending quality time with thepeople I love. Together, we focus on staying positive, talking about exciting new possibilities, and spreading laughter. We don’t really spend time talking about PH and my symptoms. Focusing on things to look forward to helps me reframe my perspective. This helps build my resilience so that it becomeseasier to handle the hardships in my life.  

Reminder Board

I also created a “reminder board” that I originally wrote for myself. Now, I want to share it with YOU in the hopes that it will help you as much as it’s helped me. 

    I CAN get better, no matter what anyone tells me.

    Our bodies are made to heal themselves.

    Everything takes time. When I start rushing and not seeing changes take place quickly enough, I slow down and remind myself to be patient. 

    It’s OKto feel tired or weak sometimes. I listen to my body and give it what it needs. 

    I visualize myself healed, no matter how difficult things get.

    I have faith, but I remind myself that it’s my job to do the actual work.

    I remind myself that I can accomplish all of my dreams no matter how challenging the circumstances may be.

These are mantras that I’ve applied to my situation. My hope is that you’ll take what you need from this list and adjust the reminders in a way that suits you in order to get the most out of your “reminder board.” Everybody’s situation is different but I firmly believe that everyone would truly benefit from a daily, positive affirmation. 

The Smile Tour 

In addition to working on myself and all of the things that I’ve shared with you, I’m also currently working on a few other exciting projects. I’m creating an album, a documentary, and am currently on a U.S. hospital tour. The latter was inspired by Humayra Bodhania, an 8-year old girl who recently died as a result of PH. I created this tour in her honor and with her in my heart. I’m visiting hospitals throughout the U.S., to spend time with kids who have PH and other chronic illnesses. I perform for them with the mission of lifting their spirits.  This tour will be featured in my upcoming documentary. My goal is to continue raising funds so that we can create “The Smile Tour” year after year. 

The purpose of this tour is to not only raise children’s spirits but to also raise awareness of PH. Through entertainment, we hope to inspire those who are living with PH and other diseases and disabilities to live their best lives. We are bringing awareness to PH and are supporting the tour by collecting donations at http://www.TheChloeTemtchineFoundation.org. All donations help us educate others about this disease, leading us one step closer to finding a cure.

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- MARCUS AURELIUS

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