Wow. I really don’t deserve this but I truly appreciate your concern, advice, and best wishes sent over the last few days following my post on losing, and slowly regaining, my voice. I didn’t know anyone was still reading but some of you must have seen my RSS feed pop up under the cobwebs on your reader.
What’s interesting is that I generally look well in person other than getting winded when walking too fast or going up stairs (yes! I can walk up stairs now! w00t!). And to be honest, the loss of 14 lbs I didn’t need has actually made me look a little more fit. I’ve still got a long way to go in my recovery but people think I look better than I actually am.
So among the comments I received in the last few days was an exceptionally prescient and timely one from Lisa Copen. She wrote the following in response to my February 7th post, “Meditations on those with chronic illness,” a post I wrote when I was about at my worst.
Thank you for your kind simple words at the end of your post that say, “So today, my heart goes out to all of those who suffer with chronic illnesses every day. You have my admiration and respect.”
As the founder of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week (and a patient of 17 years of rheumatoid arthritis) I can say that just hearing the simple validation from others is what people crave most. We did a survey a few years ago and with over 1500 respondents what they “hate” hearing the most is “but you look so good!” There is some part of our human nature, despite whatever kind of suffering we are going through, be it physical,mental, emotional, financial, whatever – that desires someone to say, “I don’t know how you do it. I respect that it is hard and you inspire me.”
Blessings on your continued endeavors.
Lisa didn’t mention it in her comment but she is also founder of a non-profit group called Rest Ministries, “a Christian organization that serves the chronically ill through a variety of programs and resources.” I also added the link to National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week because Lisa didn’t have it. We get a lot of self-promotional stuff here in comments and e-mail but Lisa’s comment clearly came from the heart. So, I’ll promote her work for her because she’s doing good stuff.
While I haven’t vetted all of the medical information at Rest Ministries, it seems to have a lot of useful suggestions and tools for those with chronic illness and their caregivers and loved ones. A quick glance at their section on alternative treatments wisely notes the risks of infection with acupuncture and suggests instead more useful motion exercises such as tai chi. For folks needing help around the house, they note how to go about screening cleaning services. They have what looks like a good bookstore and I may even have to buy one of their $8.50 T-shirts that have 33 ways to encourage a chronically ill friend (jpeg of shirt back).
Even if you are of another faith, atheist, or agnostic, you may find something useful there.
Thank you, Lisa, for stopping by.