Health Care, Love, Life Stories, Wellness

23 things only spoonies will understand

“You know how I did that thing today? Yeah. So I can’t do a thing tomorrow.”

In early 2018, I was diagnosed with an inflammatory autoimmune disease. That means, like all chronic illness sufferers, I only have 12 spoons to get me through the day! Luckily enough, I get by with a little help from my friends (and lots of prednisone).

The term spoon in this sense was coined by Christine Miserandino as a way of explaining what it’s like to live with a chronic disease. Imagine I hand you 12 spoons – that now represents all your energy for the day. Now, describe to me what you would do on a normal day, and I will take one spoon away for each activity. We have to spend our spoons wisely or we will run out (ending up in a lot of pain or be completely exhausted).

We can always borrow spoons from tomorrow, but that means that there will be even fewer spoons to get through the next day…

1. Spoon thieves.

Actress Ruby Hill is out of breath, she is frowning at the camera with her mouth open
[Image Description: Actress Ruby Hill is out of breath and she is frowning at the camera with her mouth open.] Via Giphy
Those fun friends who mean well but don’t realize that going for a hike, a brisk walk, and some cocktails will require a minimum of 14 thousand spoons. 

2. Constipation. 

A white woman with blonde hair looks passed the camera with a serious expression saying “this is a declaration of war.
[Image Description: A white woman with blonde hair looks past the camera with a serious expression saying “this is a declaration of war.”] Via Giphy
When your body is too preoccupied with manning a war against itself, some things get left on the back burner… like your entire digestive system

3. “Why aren’t you wearing your rings?” 

A woman with short brown hair, wearing a pink shirt stands infront of a pink background shaking her finger as if to say “haha, no
[Image Description: A woman with short brown hair, wearing a pink shirt stands in front of a pink background shaking her finger as if to say “haha, no.”] Via Giphy
Yes, I love that dainty silver ring you got me for my birthday but the small sausages that have become my fingers are currently on a sabbatical. 

4. We gotta have “the talk.”

A white grandma sits at the table about to blow out the candles on her birthday cake and her teeth accidently come out, the candles read “102”
[Image Description: A white grandma sits at the table about to blow out the candles on her birthday cake and her teeth accidentally come out, the candles read “102.” ] Via Giphy
That moment when you break the news to your shiny new crush that you’re actually an 80-year-old granny trapped in the body of a 23-year-old. 

5. Ripped jeans. 

An illustration of two people from the waist down wearing jeans facing each other. Their knees peep out the holes in their jeans and kiss each other
[Image Description: An illustration of two people from the waist down wearing jeans facing each other. Their knees peep out the holes in their jeans and kiss each other.] Via Giphy
The holes in those trendy ‘distressed denim’ jeans (that all aunties hate) are fantastic for when your knees swell up like baby watermelons. 

6. Friends that just get it.

Kris Jenner says “I love my friends” from inside a bubble bath, next to her is a bottle of champagne and a glass
[Image Description: Kris Jenner says “I love my friends” from inside a bubble bath, next to her is a bottle of champagne and a glass.] Via Giphy
Thankful for those special friends who celebrate your tiny victories and give you bath salts for when there are lots of tears.

7. Waiting rooms.  

A black cartoon duck sits anxiously in a waiting room while tapping his head with both hands
[Image Description: A black cartoon duck sits anxiously in a waiting room while tapping his head with both hands.] Via Giphy
If I’m willing to spend three hours of my life sitting on a hard plastic chair while feeling really sick, I’m either in love with you or you’re a fancy specialist with a last minute cancellation.

8. Pills…so many pills. 

Chandler Bing points and laughs as someone leaves the room, he then begins to dramatically cry into his hands
[Image Description: Chandler Bing points and laughs as someone leaves the room, he then begins to dramatically cry into his hands.] Via Giphy
Who needs breakfast when you have the luxury of having to swallow 25 tablets in the morning? 

9. Thrush.

A black woman with long black hair wearing chunky jewellery looks down and points with her hands, the text reads “when you’re struggling you might want to humble yourself
[Image Description: A black woman with long black hair wearing chunky jewelry looks down and points with her hands, the text reads “when you’re struggling you might want to humble yourself.”] Via Giphy
No, not like the bird. I’m talking about good ‘ol Candida Albicans. When you have to go back onto prednisone for a flare-up (and suddenly feel like a million bucks), there’s nothing quite like a case of oral thrush to humble you. 

10. Eye bags. 

 Actress Shay Mitchel runs away from the camera holding eight bags, she sticks her tongue and laughs as she leaves the frame
[Image Description: Actress Shay Mitchel runs away from the camera holding eight bags, she sticks her tongue and laughs as she leaves the frame.] Via Giphy
Telling your crush that you come with baggage as you wake up in the morning. Nope, not the emotional kind, the ones under my eyes which are no longer hidden by concealer.  

11. Routine.

A seven year old Mary-Kate Olsen wearing denim dungarees and a red shirt shrugs with her hands held out, the text reads “I did the best I could”
[Image Description: A seven-year-old Mary-Kate Olsen wearing denim dungarees and a red shirt shrugs with her hands held out, the text reads “I did the best I could.”] Via Giphy
I love routine, look how healthy I am! > I should do something exciting, I’m bored > I’m over stimulated and sore > Why did I break my routine? > I love routine, look how healthy I am!

12. Exercise. 

A white woman with blonde hair backs away with her hands up while smiling and looking down, she is wearing an orange shirt and jeans
[Image Description: A white woman with blonde hair backs away with her hands up while smiling and looking down, she is wearing an orange shirt and jeans.] Via Giphy
“But I saw on your Instagram story that you went for a run yesterday?” Yes, I had one good day and lost all of my spoons and today am spoon debt. 

13. Meeting other spoonies. 

Demi Lovato excitedly holds a red sign against a glass door that reads “Me, too”
[Image Description: Demi Lovato excitedly holds a red sign against a glass door that reads “Me, too.”] Via Giphy
There’s nothing quite like meeting another kindred spoonie spirit. When we spend the majority of the time putting on our brave faces and big girl panties, it’s nice to talk openly with someone who knows what you’re going through.

14. That steroid moon face. 

A very fluffly white poodle yawns as the camera zooms in
[Image Description: A very fluffy white poodle yawns as the camera zooms in.] Via Giphy
Cortisone is great for many things, unfortunately, one of those things is water retention. 

15. Healers, homeopaths, and acupuncturists.

A white man with a blonde beard closes his eyes as he holds a large blue crystal to his head. He is wearing multiple bangles and bracelets
[Image Description: A white man with a blonde beard closes his eyes as he holds a large blue crystal to his head. He is wearing multiple bangles and bracelets.] Via Giphy
If it makes me feel better, then consider me a believer. If that means carrying around a blue crystal and a wad of burning thyme then so be it. 

16. Good days!

A white woman with blonde straight hair aggressively shouts “Lets go!” while clapping her hands
[Image Description: A white woman with blonde straight hair aggressively shouts “Let’s go!” while clapping her hands.] Via Giphy
There are few things quite as motivating as a really good day (the trick is to resist the urge to try to achieve your life goals in this one day). 

17. “You look tired!” 

The Sleepy dwarf from Snow White yawns while trying to keep his eyes open
[Image Description: The Sleepy dwarf from Snow White yawns while trying to keep his eyes open.] Via Giphy
That, my friend, is because I am tired. All. The. Time. 

18. Being proud of the most ridiculous things. 

Beyonce confidently poses and flicks her hair as she puts her hand on her hip
[Image Description: Beyonce confidently poses and flicks her hair as she puts her hand on her hip.] Via Giphy
I don’t know about you, but being able to stand-up off the ground without someone’s help felt like as much of an achievement as getting my degree. 

19. “Woah, you have so many things wrong with you!” 

A middle aged Indian woman wearing a red collared shirt with curled hair shakes her head and frown
[Image Description: A middle-aged Indian woman wearing a red collared shirt with curled hair shakes her head and frowns.] Via Giphy
Chronic illness is like an orchestra – all your diagnosis working together to create a symphony of “I feel like crap.”

20. “What are you up to this year?”

Homer Simpson slowly backs into a green hedge until we can no longer see him, he looks blankly forward
[Image Description: Homer Simpson slowly backs into a green hedge until we can no longer see him, he looks blankly forward.] Via Giphy
Ah yes, the dreaded question (normally asked by an auntie in front of 12 strangers). Because “nothing, I’m taking time off to heal” isn’t an ideal answer, apparently. 

21. “You’re still sick?!”

Cinderella turns over in her bed to cover her head with her pillow, two blue birds fly around her
[Image Description: Cinderella turns over in her bed to cover her head with her pillow, two bluebirds fly around her.] Via Giphy
How many times have you had to explain the definition of “chronic” this month?

22. “Hello, I’d like to report a broken body thermostat.”

The camera zooms in on a white child covered head to toe in jackets and scarfs, only their eyes peep out
[Image Description: The camera zooms in on a white child covered head to toe in jackets and scarfs, only their eyes peep out.] Via Giphy
I am always cold. It doesn’t matter if it’s mid-summer and 100 degrees outside, I need my hot water bottle and thermal socks at all times (we don’t care if it makes you feel hot). 

23. Lemons. 

Jess from ‘New Girl’ says “Im cool” while holding her hands out to her face before resting her head on her chin
[Image Description: Jess from ‘New Girl’ says “I’m cool” while holding her hands out to her face before resting her head on her chin.] Via Giphy
Like any good spoonie knows, we have to take each day as it comes. That means we are allowed to make jokes about symptoms that are scary and diseases that are serious because what’s life without a little lemonade?