About the Author: For 22-year-old Caleigh Miller of Wallkill, New York, life is something to be lived to the fullest. If you ever speak with Caleigh, she’s one of the bubbliest people you’ll ever meet – effervescent and full of energy. Caleigh is many things, a lover of the color pink, an aspiring actress, and also a chronic illness warrior.
Battling Chronic Illness
Caleigh has been diagnosed with a few conditions including chronic gastritis, chronic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and most recently postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Her health has required her to receive total parenteral nutrition (TPN) through a PICC line in order to absorb the proper nutrients her body needs. Living with an illness that can make your stomach feel like it’s constantly on fire, cause extreme nausea and make you lose weight rapidly can be a very stressful experience. As a result, Caleigh has found a number of ways to stay occupied and positive, even when going through tough times health-wise.
Tips to Power Through
Here are Caleigh’s top five favorite activities that help her relax and de-stress:
1. Shopping – It’s not called retail therapy for nothing! Caleigh often makes trips to Target, where she loves to buy scented things that make her feel warm and cozy. For Caleigh, even just the act of going outside and walking around the mall makes her feel much better than when she just stays at home. Caleigh also loves her Care+Wear PICC Line Covers (in pink of course), which allows her to shop with ease, keep her PICC line protected, while still being able to monitor the site and look great while out with her friends.
2) Playing Games – Caleigh loves games, particularly video and computer games. Games are a great way to have fun and stay distracted but also, according to Psychology Today, can have cognitive benefits such as improving visual processing, attention, vigilance, executive functioning and job-related skills.
3) Watching Movies – The ultimate form of modern entertainment, movies can change the way we think, feel and ultimately deal with life's ups and downs. Caleigh’s favorite movie isMiracle From Heaven, a film that tells the story of how a young girl suffering from a rare digestive disorder finds herself miraculously cured after surviving a terrible accident. Caleigh explained, “The movie really inspired me and really helped improve my faith in God that one day he’s going to heal me.”
4) Playing with Pets - Pets can make great companions, especially if you are struggling with a chronic illness. Caleigh is a BIG fan of pets, she has 15 cats and 3 bunnies! She says they are “basically her best friends.” They are always following her around and keeping her company. Pictured below is one of her cats, Benny!
5) Spending Time Outdoors - Fresh air can really help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious! Caleigh tries to get some time in the sun at least once a day, usually around her neighborhood. If it’s too hot to take a walk, she sits outside in the shade!
Words of Wisdom
Even on bad days, Caleigh tries to remind herself that it’s just a bad day. She says, “I have so many things to be grateful for. I’m grateful for my animals, my friends, my warm, cozy home, my IV fluids and PICC line that keep me going. I’m grateful for the fact that I’m still alive and have survived everything that I’ve been through. I may be small, but I’m strong enough to handle almost anything!” 💪🏼
When asked if she had any other advice she wanted to share, Caleigh wanted to leave our community with one of her favorite inspirational quotes:
“Never give up. God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers.”
Share Your Story!
How do you power through when you’re not feeling your best? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re inspired by amazing people like Caleigh and are always excited to share the stories of patients from around the world!