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Chronic Illness

I have a new respect for those who deal with a chronic illness.

I have been fighting bronchitis since the 1st week of November. It gets better, only to relapse. I have been on a steroid inhaler, which reduces my immunity, so… I ended up with the flu, which led to a relapse in the bronchitis recovery. I have been on a number of medications for three months straight. As the author of Pete the Cat writes… “Does Pete cry? Goodness no. He just keeps on singing….”

As I was seeing the doctor and receiving three more prescriptions to try and knock all this out, the PA with her said, “At least you have a good outlook about all this.” My response? “What are ya gonna do?” I’m not looking for your sympathy. I’m hoping that you will have a new respect for those who deal with a chronic illness.

I just did a quick search to find some definitive information on how many different types of chronic illnesses there are and the information varies. It seems some are “avoidable” and/or “curable” while others are a lifetime illness. Of course, you have to add the invisible chronic illnesses as well, like depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.

Let me suggest that, for this blog, a chronic illness is one that requires daily medications, or management techniques, and persists for a lifetime. I do not consider my bronchitis to be chronic at this point and yet, I find it frustrating and disheartening at times. That is why I have a new respect for those who deal with a chronic illness.

Taking all the meds becomes routine after a while. They can make someone feel better, which is good, but they can also make you feel worse (side effects). We’ve all seen the commercials that talk about the horrible side effects of some medications and think, “Oh yeah, I want to take THAT.” For some people the possibility of side effects is worth the chance to feel better. It’s a rollercoaster ride that some people don’t have a choice but to step on.

So, the next time you chat with someone you know who is dealing with a chronic illness, keep this blog in the back of your mind. No, they may not be having a great day, but… cut them a little slack. They may be having a wonderful day. Be thankful and appreciate that person even more, as they fight for the joy in their lives.

Remember to be kind to those you meet, for you know not their struggles.

*Pam is a Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coaching, in the Raleigh area.

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