Speaking from experience, my advice for anyone contemplating PhD research with a long-term-condition is to go for it!
So far, I have found it to be a great distraction from my health needs, the monotony and disappointment in attending hospital appointments, and the failure of my body to allow me to do things I want to do at times.
Carrying out original research is great for self-esteem, a great way to meet people passionate about similar subjects, and those passionate about completely unrelated subjects.
I have to remember the importance of pacing myself, planning for deadlines, and timetabling recovery days after a few days at a conference. As my physical disability is obvious I also feel I am contributing to increasing awareness that people with disabilities and/or long-term-conditions can contribute to society in meaningful ways.
On the whole, studying a subject I am passionate about, exploring philosophical arguments I had little knowledge about previously, and preparing to interview health professionals is very exciting. I am so glad to have this opportunity.
As some research shows, people with chronic pain cope better when they have achievable goals, and, despite the challenges I’ve faced, my goal definitely feels achievable.