I’m dedicating this page to the friends and family that desperately want to help but don’t know how. I can only imagine the helplessness on the other end. To watch a loved one experience the symptoms of a debilitating and unpredictable disease can’t be easy. There is a lot of help to be had and being willing can be a game-changer.
In the past, when people would ask me how they could help, I never knew what to say. It was a combination of being embarrassed to have someone help, the lack of energy to socially interact, as well as not wanting people to know I couldn’t handle things. In the end, carrying the burden alone took its toll on me. What I finally realized was that the helpers admittedly felt blessed and so had I. I recently spent a lot of time thinking about how others could help and came up with several options.
- Walk the dogs or take to Vet/grooming appts.
- House cleaning
- Yard work
- Grocery shop
- Food preparation
For me, the home assistance category was the most difficult to accept. It was due to the sheer amount of time it would take out of someone’s schedule. It took a couple years, but I was finally able to ask my mother for help with all of the above, excluding yard work. What a relief that was.
- A massage
- A manicure/pedicure
- A yoga class
- Pampering products (i.e. oil diffuser, essential oils, epsom salt crystals, organic and toxin free detox/relaxation teas)
- An autoimmune friendly restaurant
- A hair salon
I know, I know, this seems like a ploy to get free pampering services. But the two reasons they are so important are to decrease the amount of stress the autoimmune condition puts on the body and to allow for a rejuvenation without the additional financial burden. I’d spent $7,500 on average per year on medical care and treatment for 4 years. That ended up being an added $625 per month, which doesn’t include medical insurance or additional food costs. The high medical costs tended to deter me from anything nonessential.
This past year I did finally allow myself to indulge in a couple pampering experiences and I would get choked up each time. In daily life I was always in “survival mode” and felt deprived from anything that offered real relaxation, so the pampering fed my soul and renewed my spirit.
- Autoimmune approved cookbook Paleo or AIP
- Needed cookware (or help contribute to a purchase) Chef’s knife, Instant Pot, Spiralizer or the more pricey Vitamix Blender
- Order/Deliver an autoimmune approved food item (i.e. olive oil, coconut oil or coconut aminos)
- Make an autoimmune food dish or treat (ask for a favorite recipe or look up one on Pinterest) )
- Make at least one autoimmune friendly dish at a dinner party
I had the privilege of experiencing a few of the helpful gifts items. I received a cookbook for my birthday, which was a Godsend prior to Pinterest’s current selections. A couple friends also bought me multiple bags of my favorite plantain chips from Amazon and had them delivered. What a great surprise that was!
Eating out and dinner parties are the worst when dealing with an autoimmune condition. I felt I always had to decline because the odds the host would make something I could eat would be slim to none. There were the select few that really understood my situation and their accommodations meant the world to me. I felt I could finally join in a social situation without feeling like an outcast.
As far as the cookware, there are several beneficial items. I’m not trying to seem spoiled by including that on the list, but this diet requires most all dishes to be made from scratch and unique gadgets are needed. I’ve spent so many hours in the kitchen preparing food. I can’t just throw noodles into a pot and heat up a jar of spaghetti sauce anymore. I would need to spiralize the zucchini (with a vegetable spiralizer) into noodles and make the sauce from scratch. It’s a new time-consuming way of life.
Living life with extreme fatigue and flu-like symptoms makes daily life quite the challenge. Each person is different in their journey and there are ebbs and flows with regards to symptoms. During the low spots we could use a little extra care and it doesn’t always need to be in the forms of monetary gifts. The gifts of service were the ones that met even more of my basic needs. I truly hope my recommendations will bless you as much as they blessed me.