Symptom Management Is a Full-time Job
“What’s your worst symptom?” is a question I’m often asked while discussing sarcoidosis.
My response is always the same: “Whatever symptom I have at the moment.”
It’s true: Whatever I’m dealing with at the moment is the worst symptom. By the time that particular aspect of my condition has passed, I’ve moved on to the next, and have become immersed in trying to handle that issue. Some days it seems like it never ends.
I have learned that managing a chronic health condition means keeping a host of possible remedies close by at all times. Here are a few examples:
- Sleep: Poor sleep causes me great distress on a daily basis. From trying new mattresses and ensuring the bedroom is a certain temperature to being consistent with my bedtime routine, I am consistently trying to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep continues to be problematic, but I have over-the-counter (OTC) sleep remedies, prescription medications, supplements, lavender sprays, and Epsom foot baths on hand at all times. I don’t feel like I’ve won yet, but I keep hoping the next discovery will do the trick.
- Joint pain: I often wake up with joint pain, which is probably somewhat attributable to my poor sleep. I find that 20 to 30 minutes in an infrared sauna is helpful. Sometimes I repeat the sauna treatment later in the day. If I stick with that routine for a few consecutive days, I usually see improvement. Topical arthritis creams offer some relief as well. When my joints really act up, I look at my diet. There is usually a good chance that I have been eating too many processed or sweet foods, and am suffering as a result.
- Cough: I waste no time trying to curtail my cough, as it’s the last thing I want to get out of hand, and is the symptom that causes the most distress. My doctor suggested vitamins C and A, as well as zinc, to boost my immune system. I use an OTC cough suppressant, which is always in my medicine cabinet. I drink plenty of hot water with lemon and honey, and I get lots of sleep. Sometimes that means I don’t get out of bed for several days, but I’ve learned that’s OK.
To make managing my sarcoidosis simpler, I’ve created “bins” for each symptom. When my cough acts up, for instance, I have most of what I need in one place. It makes it much easier to remember and utilize everything at my disposal, hopefully with quick and effective results.
Managing my ”symptom of the moment” remains my biggest complaint. You never know what the moment, hour, or day might bring, and things can change rapidly. However, I do find relief in having options. Until they find a cure, I will manage as best I can, one symptom at a time.
Note: Sarcoidosis News 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 Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.