New Year’s Resolutions for the Chronically Ill

Nicole Kohr avatar

by Nicole Kohr |

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At the start of each new year, I try not to have regrets from the previous year, especially as related to my cystic fibrosis.

“Forget about that handful of medication you missed,” I’ll tell myself. Or, “So what if you didn’t stick to your diet!”

Then, I’ll watch an old video of the Times Square ball drop because I don’t have the energy to stay awake until midnight to see the new one.

Three, two, one …

It’s time to start over. And for those of you who haven’t read my previous columns, I love starting over.

Following are my New Year’s resolutions for 2022:

Prioritize my health

This is one of the New Year’s resolutions I make every year. This year, however, I plan to step it up a notch.

Since the pandemic began, many of my friends and family members have experienced health trauma for the first time. While that’s nothing new to me, their newly discovered exposure to health risk has renewed my drive for self-care.

Plus, we’re all growing older. My knees have started to pop when I make my way up the stairs. I also have a weaker immune system than I once did, and I’m more fatigued these days.

On the flip side, more medications and resources are available, which gives me the confidence to improve my health more each year. To prioritize my health in 2022, I’ve downloaded several mobile apps that track my daily health routine in some way, including my pulmonary function numbers, my eating and exercise habits, my water intake, and even the brushing of my teeth.

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Simplify my responsibilities

I’m an Energizer Bunny when it comes to creative projects. Why? Because slowing down leads to overthinking, and overthinking leads to depression. So, when I embark on a creative project, such as a new children’s book or new songs for my musical comedy, “Fall Risk,” I commit my blood, sweat, and tears.

Regrettably, my habit of overscheduling things causes fatigue and a cough. Instead of pausing these projects cold turkey, which I’m often advised to do, I’m researching ways to automate some of the tasks. For example, in my nonprofit work, a content management system with integrations would save me a lot of time when working with spreadsheets. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe there’s a machine that can organize my pills, too!

Drink more water

I’m a huge soda addict. While I’ve cut back from five sodas per day, it’s still an unhealthy habit that frequently leaves me dehydrated. Once again, it isn’t something I can stop cold turkey, so I plan on boosting my water intake.

I currently drink up to eight water bottles a day, but based on my dry skin, worsening gastroparesis, and chapped lips, that’s not enough. I think I’ll try a gallon-a-day challenge. If I fill up on water, I’ll drink less soda, right? And if I need a backup plan, I’ll look into intravenous hydration.

Take better care of my feet

When my lungs were failing, I understandably paid no attention to caring for my feet. Care for one organ was always prioritized over another. But now that I’ve put on some weight after taking the medication Trikafta, my feet hurt the moment I stand up. They also hurt when I exercise, not to mention the pain from arthritis and osteoporosis.

I purchased some basic orthopedic insoles that helped to take the edge off, but orthopedic shoes might be a better solution. A stronger foot bath might also help … or a podiatrist.

Declutter

I come from a family of hoarders, so getting items out of the house has always given me a sense of relief. If I feel bad after receiving a critique or facing a bad day, I’ll donate several of my coats to Goodwill. Call it a coping mechanism.

This year, I may take them my medical supplies. Do I really need three plastic bins worth of Pari nebulizers when I haven’t used one in five years? Maybe I’ll also donate my extra-small shirts and double-zero pants. A cleanse of that nature should help to keep my mindset in the present instead of the past.

Explore new hobbies

My favorite former hobbies — writing, theater, and nonprofit work — have now become elements of my career. While that makes me smile, it also leaves me with no hobbies. So, instead of relaxing while listening to Broadway soundtracks, I’ll think of the administrative tasks I need to finish.

In response, I may take up new mindless projects like paint-by-numbers pictures, which I loved as a kid. Those are great for my mental health, and they’ll help to take my mind off spreadsheets.

This week’s column made me think of the song “Happy New Year” from the Broadway production “Rent.” At the top of Act 2, the characters, who mostly are in good spirits, discuss their New Year’s resolutions. My favorite is Mimi, who decides she is “giving up all of her vices and going back to school.”

I can’t see myself going back to school, but if I run out of paint-by-numbers to do and coats to donate, maybe I’ll consider it. And perhaps I’ll actually stay up until midnight next year instead of going to bed at 8:30.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Please share in the comments below. 

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Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.

Comments

Gisele F Lapointe avatar

Gisele F Lapointe

Happy and healthy new year to you. It looks to me that you're on the right path. Stay safe.

Reply
Paul met Debbie avatar

Paul met Debbie

Ah, resolutions! I love those. For 2022, I have exactly seven of them:

For next year, I am very resolute to

– breath in and out a lot; I plan on doing 6.300.000 of those, but perhaps I can improve on that? Have to do some research;

– practice on keeping my blood pressure just right for the occasion; I am reading a lot about this and I am almost getting to the point of exactly understanding this;

– experience gravity fully. It should be at least 9.8 m per second squared, so that is what I am aiming for seriously;

– exactly determine what is good or bad for me; this should be no problem, because after all what is not good, is bad, and what is not bad, ought to be good, no?

– let come what comes, and let go what goes; so I should stop doing, and stop even that;

– just be; there is not much effort in this, so I should be able to at least accomplish this one;

– love; since I am love, this one as well is going to be a piece of cake; well, two out of seven, that’s not bad at all.

Choosing aspirations wisely will cause a lot of true joy.

Happy New Year and good luck for all of you with or without resolutions!

I hope you will indeed achieve something, all be it the wisdom that there is nothing to achieve and all has been taken care of already.

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