Be patient with me, sometimes I hurt
Last week I was in pain, a lot of pain. If you happened to come by the store, I apologize for my lack of chipper, I was definitely moving slower than I normally do. It doesn’t happen all that often these days, but I do occasionally have the flare up of my bigger autoimmune symptoms. When I do, it really stops me in my tracks.
Often, people ask me how I have recovered from my illnesses. The answer always varies a little, but remains relatively the same- I haven’t. Four years ago, I was largely bedridden. I saved up energy during the day to be able to be some kind of mother to my kids when they got off the bus. By 8pm, I was absolutely done. Over the last several years I have worked very hard to tackle my medical issues so that I can actually live a somewhat normal life (and start a business!), but it hasn’t been easy. I have eliminated many things and altered the way that I live so that I can become a healthier and happier person. Even still, usually with some sort of trigger like diet or stress, I have issues. Ever so often I have a super kind customer that asks me (knowingly) how I am feeling. Sometimes that question can be hard to answer because I simply don’t feel well. But I do believe that the best answer, the one that can actually help others, is the truth.
A while back I read this post from Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry (and author of a number of great cookbooks) about her Multiple Sclerosis (MS) diagnosis and coping with. When I first began treatment, my first diagnosis was MS and like her, I thought that that would be the end of everything. I was certain that from that moment on I would only get sicker and my children would see their mother die. I had a few supportive friends and family that really helped encourage me and of course my amazing husband. I was able to really start to get myself into a routine, like Elana talks about, that made sense for my body and its ability to heal.
Healing for everyone is a long journey. If you have suffered with pain and illness for most of your life, recovering from it can be something that may take the rest of your life. But with that healing, there are those times when you can actually enjoy the day or month or year, where when you had not been working towards recovery, you may not have. I know that for myself and many others, healing is a process that requires many things. I maintain a strict schedule of sleep, light exercise, hydration and good nutrition. If I stray, I pay for later. But, with diligence and prayer, I can get through my day and accomplish the things that I want and need to do. But my biggest lesson is that I need to listen to my body.
If you don’t suffer, be thankful, but remember for every person who lives a healthy life, there is a person who is ill. They may not tell you, you may not be able to see it, but they ARE suffering. Be kind, be patient and be supportive. You kindness means more to people like me than you could possibly know.
For more information about Invisible Illness and support please check out REST Ministries and Invisible Illness Week.