Hi all, I often turn to writing to heal. I started writing this, but can’t share on Facebook, so thought I’d leave this here. Thank you for being so instrumental in my recovery.
A severe illness is terrifying. It stops you in your tracks and turns the world on its head. I thought I understood medicine and disease, but I really knew nothing. Resting on a CT scanner bed weak and scared, or going through blood draws, IVs and ultrasounds – the experience of illness and the unknown strips away feeling of control. I knew “symptoms” of diseases but didn’t realize the burden of living with them 24-7, fearing them, struggling with them and suffering through them (“I can’t breathe.”) I didn’t know the desperation of being told “I don’t know what’s going on with you, you should see a specialist” and having to wait over 4 months to see an expert.
I saw the ugliness that can accompany disease. Disbelief, denial, humiliation. You’re not that sick, just get over it, figure out how to do this on your own.
But I also saw grace and mercy. I saw complete strangers open their hearts to me, welcome me into their circle and bear their scars, experiences and vulnerability so I wouldn’t feel alone. I had pharmacists see me sitting in the waiting room shivering and coughing and they would stop me after picking up a medicine and say next time, just call, I’ll drive this to your house. I had old mentors who dropped everything and personally approached In person, the best pulmonologists in the country, to ask if they could possibly squeeze me into their clinic. I had friends who came to the hospital and sat with me, guarded who could come see me to protect my privacy and who loved me enough to say the honest truth that I needed to prioritize myself and self care. I had friends who said I will drive you wherever you need to go because you are too weak and sick to go alone, 5 states away if need be, so you can see the experts you need to heal. I met new lifelong friends who gave me their phone numbers and said call or text whenever, and meant it. They were there for me in the depths of despair, fits of rage and all of the emotions of chronic disease.
I saw hope; I saw love, and mercy. I know I couldn’t have done this alone. I thank God everyday for people like you who are helping me navigate one of the hardest challenges of my life. Thank you for saving my life and keeping hope alive. We are better together.