Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chronic Illness is Personal

A few days ago, I read a young woman's blog post about living with rheumatoid arthritis. She did not want readers to feel sorry for her; she wanted us to see RA through her eyes as she showed photos of her Rollator and her swollen knee from her perspective. I wish I had flagged it so I could provide a link, but I did not think of it until the next day. 

As I was reading, I felt sad that she had to be going through this at her age - early 30's - knowing that there is no cure (at this time). I felt guilty that I sometimes feel sorry for myself when she is 20(ish) years younger than me and has young children. 

Then, I reminded myself that each person's journey with chronic illness is different. Yes, there are days when we feel sorry for ourselves and times we wish we could go back to a time when we were healthy.

She is blessed to have a husband who has stuck by her, who helps her get out of bed and dresses her when she is in a flare. I have felt sorry for myself because I live alone. Then, I needed help with dealing with my current health situation and learned that I, too, have a support system. 

Serenity Prayer
My middle son lives close enough to me that he jumped into action when I asked him to go to the grocery store for me. (He was irritated with me that I did not call him for a ride home from the hospital, but I knew he would be at work.) 

A dear friend brought me soda and flowers. Two more friends picked up medicine, including my third antibiotic in a row, for me yesterday.

I have learned that many of my cyber friends are also dealing with chronic illness. We are here for each other, to listen and pray, and just be understanding because we each know what it is like, even if we have different chronic issues.

I do not want my readers to feel sorry for me, either. I sometimes have a "pity party" for myself. Unless there is a major medical breakthrough, I will live for many more years "ill," just as other chronically ill people do.

Maybe that could be my new motto: "Live with it, do not wallow in it."