I am a healthy 40 year old woman. I eat well and exercise (yoga, walking, biking). I have a full life- loving husband, a beautiful family,
great friends, and very supportive parents and siblings.
I travel, I read, I exercise, I juice, I eat healthy, I go outdoors, and I get plenty of sunshine.
I am an entrepreneur. When I am not lecturing and conducting research at the university, I am running my own business. I own a successful children's book publishing company called Lauren Simone Publishing House.
I am booked and busy. You know that saying, “Heath is wealth”? We all say it, but sometimes the inevitable occurs. Despite having high life satisfaction and work-life harmony, in March 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was diagnosed with fibroid tumors. I discovered the reason for my growing stomach.
It was painful and created chronic pain, which made some days harder than others to work. I was determined to find a remedy as I could not function like that. On June 8th, 2021 I had a procedure to rid myself of the fibroids permanently.
I have been blessed to have the care of the most amazing medical team, my spouse, my mother, my daughters, and the support of many loved ones to aid my recovery.
I still have a business to run. But consider this quote from the Dalai Lama: “We sacrifice our health in order to make wealth, then we sacrifice our wealth in order to get back our health.”
I felt a need, a duty, and an obligation to blog about my experience. Specifically, what happens when an entrepreneur gets sick, injured, operated on, or is living with chronic illness?
First, lets talk prevention and then coping strategies.
What are ways to prevent or delay an entrepreneur from getting ill? While I will speak specifically to my experience, these tips are useful in general. Preventing uterine fibroids completely may not be possible, as their exact cause is not well understood. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing uterine fibroids or potentially minimize their impact on your health:
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of uterine fibroids. Adopting a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity not only helps with weight management but also supports hormonal balance and overall well-being.
Practice good sleep habits
Eat a Nutritious Diet: Cook at home and include a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can contribute to overall reproductive health. Some studies suggest that certain foods, like green vegetables, may help reduce the risk of fibroids.
Take supplements (including turmeric, a natural immunity booster and vitamin c)
Limit Alcohol Consumption: High alcohol intake has been linked to an increased risk of fibroids. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
Quit Smoking: Smoking has been associated with an increased risk of fibroid development, so quitting smoking is beneficial for your overall health.
Manage stress (plan, don’t procrastinate, meditate, journal). Chronic stress can impact hormonal levels and potentially influence the development of fibroids. Practicing stress-reducing techniques like meditation, yoga, or mindfulness can be helpful.
Birth Control: Some studies suggest that certain forms of hormonal birth control, like oral contraceptives, may reduce the risk of fibroids. However, this approach should be discussed with your healthcare provider to determine the best option for you based on your medical history and needs.
Get sunshine every day
Regular Health Checkups: Regular gynecological checkups allow for early detection and monitoring of any potential issues, including uterine fibroids.
It's essential to remember that while these lifestyle factors may contribute to reducing the risk of fibroids, they may not completely prevent their development. If you experience any symptoms or concerns related to uterine fibroids, consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and management.
Let’s say you try all the above, but your nature or nurture turns against you. Struggling with a chronic condition doesn't have to stop you from starting your own business either. What do you do?
Pace yourself. Don’t try to do everything on your to do list in one. Slow and steady wins the race.
Listen to your body. Running a business is mentally and physically taxing, and the risk of wearing yourself out is ever present even if you're in perfect health. If you're managing a chronic condition, though, listening to your body and paying attention to your symptoms becomes a vital part of being able to continue working. Rest.
Manage stress levels. High levels of stress can often make chronic health problems worse. Paying attention to your stress, both at home and at work, is necessary to remain active and productive in your business.
Get support. Build a team and delegate responsibilities. Every business owner needs a support team. That team includes your colleagues, employees, as well as family and friends, who can provide practical and mental support as you navigate the challenges of business ownership. This team becomes even more important when you have a chronic illness.
Accept help. There will be days when you need additional emotional support, help at home or someone to call on when you're struggling to deliver what a client is expecting. Whether or not you have employees, surround yourself with a team that understands the challenges you face.
Be flexible. Having a chronic illness or autoimmune disorder means that your health can interfere with work at unexpected times. Symptom flare-ups, sudden doctor visits or lingering fatigue can all prevent you from doing the work you thought you would be able to. When this happens, embrace some flexibility.
Take advantage of technology. With smart phones, tablets, online meeting platforms you can have meetings from hotel rooms to hospital beds.
Communicate. While you may hesitate to let your clients know for fear of losing business, honesty is the best policy. Let your established clients know.
Establish a contingency plan. Have in writing what the plan is if disaster strikes.
I wish you continued health and happiness. But in the event of any illness, acute or chronic, be prepared.
- How to start, manage, and grow your business when you have a chronic illness. https://contentbistro.com/how-to-start-manage-and-grow-your-business-when-you-have-a-chronic-illness/
- Five tips for building a business and a career with chronic illness. https://www.forbes.com/sites/biancamillercole/2020/06/09/5-tips-for-building-a-business-and-a-career-with-chronic-illness-me-myalgic-encephalomyelitis/?sh=686a1f4f6f1e
- How to keep your business running when you have a serious illness. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226943
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