Learning To Love Myself With HS (Part 3)

In case you missed it, check out Parts 1 and 2 of this series!

In addition to all I had to learn about my body to manage my HS, I also started learning to become a master at wound care and bandaging because, well, if you have HS you kind of have to.

In CPR and First Aid training at my job, we learned about bandaging wounds, but they never went over bandaging areas with deep creases and places prone to sweat like armpits, the groin area, under the breasts, etc. Wound care is making strides and there are brands like HidraWear that was created for HS Warriors by HS Warriors. But HS treatment and awareness still have room to grow.

The things we learn about our bodies

Even while writing this article, I have a recently opened wound on the back of my left thigh. Let's just say: I'm happy to be working from home today because bandaging this thing every day has been a whirlwind of trial and error. I feel like I had to become freakin' MacGyver to find out how to bandage that area. But it’s still a lot easier now than it was ten years ago.

I'm happy that I know how to care for my body the way it needs to be cared for. Not to mention that a recently diagnosed HS Warrior could really benefit from all that we’ve learned through taking the time to understand how HS affects our bodies. And it may not seem like much, but that level of care can be valuable to someone that needs it.

Sometimes a disease even as debilitating as HS can come with unexpected benefits. Not flare-ups though; those are the bane of my existence and it's hard to see light at the end of the tunnel during those times.

I'm more patient

But other times, those benefits surprise you. I’m much more patient than I used to be, not just with others, but with myself. Some days, I just can't move as fast as I normally do, but I try not to feel bad about it anymore. I try to take the extra time I need to get ready for the day, especially if I know I have wounds to bandage. I’ve even started talking kinder to myself if getting up the stairs takes some time. Small things like that started to have a big impact on me.

And I’m more compassionate because of having the experience of having this disease go so unnoticed, not just by other people, but by health care professionals as well. Early in my HS journey, I really longed for acknowledgment from others so I wouldn't feel like I was just being a big baby about my HS pain. But the pain was real and the struggles HS Warriors go through are valid. Showing myself that same compassion that I wanted years ago started changing my perception of my illness.

"I'm capable of and deserve to be the best advocate for myself"

I kind of like to think of it like this: Someone once explained to me that sometimes what helps with dealing with childhood trauma is to speak to yourself as the calm, kind voice of reason you needed when you were younger. I try to do the same about my HS.

I'm capable of and deserve to be the best advocate for myself. These acts of kindness towards myself and the compassion and understanding I started feeling about myself spill out to how I treat other people. And I may be talking for myself here, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little proud of that.

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