June 5

Living with a Chronic Illness

Living with a Chronic Illness

By Deborah Johnson

June 5, 2024

Angela Tipton, autoimmune disease, chronic illness, Crohns disease, financial freedom, inflammation, long term illness, overcoming obstacles

In this article we delve into a journey of overcoming obstacles to achieve success, specifically focusing on chronic illness. Crohn's disease is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that is characterized by inflammation in the digestive tract, which can significantly impact one’s quality of life and hinder career and business aspirations. Our podcast guest, Angela Tipton, has navigated the challenges of living with Crohn's disease and emerged victorious in managing to pursue her desired lifestyle.

Her story is a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and practical habits in the face of adversity. I’ve expanded on some of the principles she shares in our interview to apply to most any type of long-term physical issue or illness.

6-11-2024
Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson Living with a Chronic Illness with Angela Tipton 6-11-2024
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One: Be Honest with Yourself

Prioritizing our health is crucial, as feeling unwell can be discouraging and detract from our quality of life. Unfortunately, many people don't start adopting healthy habits until later in life. In our youth, we often have the luxury of indulging in more food, being more active, and sacrificing sleep without immediate consequences. However, as we age, if we are honest with ourselves, the signs of neglecting our health become more apparent.

For Andrea, the onset of Crohn's disease, an inflammatory condition affecting the digestive tract, brought about noticeable warning signs. Often referred to as a "bathroom disease," the increased frequency of bathroom visits, accompanied by symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, and loss of appetite, served as red flags. Andrea's intuition told her something was amiss when these symptoms first appeared at the age of 15. Unfortunately, as is common with autoimmune disorders and other elusive illnesses, it took time for doctors to pinpoint the cause.

Two: Get a Proper Diagnosis

A comprehensive diagnosis isn't simply a matter of consulting "Doctor Google" and sifting through random online posts and articles. However, there is a wealth of valuable information available on reputable research and medical websites, often backed by white papers, which can aid in identifying symptoms and potential treatment options. Here is one on Crohn’s Disease: Crohn’s Disease Article

At the age of 19, Andrea received her diagnosis of Crohn's disease. Obtaining an accurate and proper diagnosis brings relief on multiple fronts. In cases where doctors initially dismiss symptoms or fail to connect the dots, as they did with Andrea, understanding the underlying issue paves the way for healing or, at the very least, effective symptom management. Often, it falls upon us to advocate for ourselves and ensure that healthcare professionals, including doctors, interns, and other specialists, are well-informed about our symptoms and concerns. Trusting one's instincts about symptoms is crucial; more often than not, intuition proves to be right.

Three: Set Goals

Setting goals has the power to ignite enthusiasm and propel us forward, even in the face of less-than-desirable circumstances such as a challenging medical diagnosis. Andrea recognized this potential and decided to set goals for herself that extended beyond managing her chronic illness, which was likely to be a lifelong companion.

One of Andrea's goals was to achieve complete financial freedom by eliminating all her and her husband's college debt. This goal provided her with a sense of purpose beyond coping with her health condition. Get free goal worksheets here: Goal Worksheets

Goals in Life

As Andrea succeeded in paying off their debt, it opened up new avenues for her. She found herself embarking on a different career path from her initial trajectory in science. Additionally, they set another goal: to save money for special occasions, like a dream vacation, even after they cleared their debt. This proactive approach not only helped them achieve financial stability but also provided them with something to look forward to and enjoy together.

Four: Do the Work

Taking action requires a mindset that transcends feelings of lethargy, pain, and discouragement. It demands a mindset that acknowledges one's current situation and consciously chooses how to respond each day. It's about accepting responsibility for past decisions and their consequences, especially when it comes to financial matters like tackling student loan debt. In other words, it takes doing the work!

Getting out of debt, particularly from burdensome student loans, is a decision that requires concerted effort and may seem overwhelming at times. However, it's entirely achievable with the right approach—a structured system, willingness to make sacrifices, and unwavering focus. Effective communication with partners, family members, or financial advisors is pivotal for success on this journey.

The ultimate result of this commitment is a profound sense of freedom. Financial freedom empowers individuals to make different choices, pursue alternative lifestyles, and cultivate a higher quality of life. Establishing and maintaining positive habits, driven by a clear set of priorities, is integral to this process. There are no shortcuts; it's about consistent dedication and perseverance to do the work in pursuit of a brighter financial future.

Application: Living with a Chronic Illness

Self-care is paramount when navigating life with a chronic illness. Prioritizing elements such as sufficient sleep, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress reduction techniques is essential for managing one's condition effectively. Take a cue from Angela, who applied small, manageable steps to chip away at her debt, thereby alleviating stress by eliminating student loan debt to gain more clarity and vitality in her life.

It's crucial to become attuned to your body's signals and requirements, acknowledging any limitations and accommodating your needs accordingly. Rather than succumbing to self-pity in the face of a chronic illness, it's a time to take proactive steps and effect meaningful changes.

Achieving freedom in various aspects of life, including financial freedom, plays a pivotal role in reducing stress, optimizing time management, and crafting a lifestyle aligned with personal aspirations. While it requires a positive mindset and diligent effort, it is entirely feasible to create the desired lifestyle through deliberate choices and hard work.

Additional Articles & Resources:

FREE Goal Setting Worksheets: Goal Worksheets

Get Angela’s FREE e-book: https://FIREYourCareer.com/ebook  

Dave Ramsey solutions on getting out of debt: Ramsey Solutions

Facing Burnout? Habits that will Stick

How to Develop Self-Accountability that Can Change Your Life

How to Be Sick with Jen Singer

- about Angela Tipton

Angela Tipton has navigated the challenges of living with Crohn's disease and emerged victorious in managing to pursue her desired lifestyle. Her story is a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and practical habits in the face of adversity. She refused to let her chronic illness diagnosis define her and built a successful career with Fortune 500 companies. She's passionate about helping others do the same.

It's crucial to become attuned to your body's signals and requirements, acknowledging any limitations and accommodating your needs accordingly.

deborah johnson

Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author

If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning

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Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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