Chronic illness is not just constantly being sick.
It is fearing that “this” spell will be the one that lands you bedridden for a year, again.
It is being treated like a hypochondriac by Doctors.
It is losing all trust and confidence in yourself.
It is being delivered life altering diagnoses, coming to grips with them and then having them completely changed again.
It is worrying that you’ll miss the signs of something catastrophic, because you never, ever, feel well anyhow.
It is the terrifying fear of living “like this” forever.
It is the paralyzing panic of being wholly dependent on other people to take care of you, fearful of anything happening to them.
It is an overshadowing gloom that minimizes the happiest of occasions, because you never know if you’ll be too sick for them.
It is the look of pity or disdain when you can’t speak, fall over, faint, have a panic attack, can’t walk or use a handicap spot.
It is the deep feeling of dread that today may be the day they take away your pain meds because the opioid crisis won’t separate pain patients from heroin addicts.
It is never knowing which illness or medication, is causing which symptoms, when you have multiple conditions.
It is giving up showering alone, driving, tennis, leisurely shopping with your daughter and hanging out with friends.
It is having your Husband come running, every time there’s any unfamiliar noise, fearful you’ve fallen again.
It is the countless offerings of anecdotal advice that losing/gaining weight, giving up gluten or doing a cleanse will cure you.
It is the covering Doc, you’ve never met, telling you that pain pills don’t work, but Tai Chi will.
It is the shame of needing those pain pills, simply to function.
It is the countless times you’ve instilled hope in a new treatment, medication or provider, only to be disappointed again, when they fail.
It is the constant gnawing that “maybe if I just tried harder”.
It is napping away vacation, because illness never takes one.
It is knowing that someone needs you, but being too sick to go.
It is the inability to do rudimentary tasks such as food shopping, driving or attending appointments without help.
It is cracking your teeth from clenching them so hard every time the pain hits.
It is also the fortitude, tenacity and grace, to get up each day and try again, despite all these things.
Keep trying, keep fighting, keep getting up. It is worth it.