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PARE0011 Living with A Strange `'Roommate” in Your Body – A Journey through Life with A Chronic Disease
  1. S. Makri
  1. Governing Board, CYPLAR, Limassol, Cyprus

Abstract

Background Pain had began during the most productive years of age (30-45). Ten years of everyday pain mainly on the neck. Then it spread all over the body. Very strong headaches, non restorative sleep, fatigue, pain killers on an everyday basis. Coping with every day activities at home proved difficult. Working and meeting Job demands on a full time working schedule also was exhausting. Diagnosis came after one year and after visiting various Doctors and health professionals'. I refused to accept my condition. Ifelt sad and was Wondering `'Why me”!!

Objectives

  • Acceptance

  • Find a way to cope with everyday activities

  • Return to work

  • Be a good parent

  • Return to social activities

  • Return to social life

  • Avoid depression

  • Control stress

  • Control anxiety

  • Deal with fatigue

  • Avoid isolation

  • Find happiness without really knowing how

Methods I Sought help from the local patient association. Started following Self management workshops. I had to change my profession and my way of thinking and living. I followed different approaches to treatment and started learning about the disease and finding my own way of dealing with it.

Results Return to action and came out of isolation. New experiences and new people came into my life to offer their help in various ways. More self confident, began travelling again, I followed a new `'life” with new targets, new objectives, new and exciting experiences. I met new interesting people. The family and the social environment came to understand that I was suffering from a real disease and that it was not only in my mind. I started meeting the `'right” people who could support me ... The question was not `'Why me” anymore but `'why not me?”.

Conclusions Personal effort by the patients is needed in order to stay active, fit and productive even with a chronic disease. You can grow older and still have a lot to offer to yourself, to the family and the social environment. To do this you have to look “inside” you, get to know your feelings, your real self. Happiness is not somewhere around you, it is inside you. a lot therefore depends on you and on your own efforts. You must keep in mind always that you are not alone, there always people ready to support you !!

Disclosure of Interest None declared

DOI 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-eular.1036

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