Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chronic Illnesses and Meeting People

I so appreciate what K8 says here about meeting people and whether or not to let them know right away that you have a chronic illness.

This has been a bit of a struggle for me. Who do I tell? When do I tell them? How will they react? Will they make me feel worse? Will they be supportive? Will they tell everyone else they know? Will I feel like a freak? Will they think less of me? Will they over-exaggerate on what they think I can and cannot handle? Will they love me and encourage me anyway?

When I first started to have the symptoms of fibro (2 yrs ago this past August), a few things happened that lead me to keeping everything a secret. I told my loved ones... those closest to me... but I didn't even tell my boss at the time or the boss I got a little bit down the road. I didn't start telling people until last January when I knew I was finally going to the rheumatologist to get the offical diagnosis.

I was scared to do it before that. Before I had proof. Before I knew for sure that's what it was. And before I went to the rheumo, I told 4 people... those who work closely with me so they'd know and understand why I was having a few upcoming doctor appointments... one of which included my boss. A man I deeply respect and admire.

And was very embarrassed and humbled to tell.

I didn't want to fail him.

I didn't expect or want this. {But now I'm thankful for it.}

I was sure that people at work would start looking down on me. Would doubt me. Would wonder about my ability to do my job. A job I've always excelled at (you know, with your usual ups and downs... no one's perfect... but otherwise I think I do a pretty good job). A job that's been built around my skills.

I couldn't let people down. I couldn't imagine what people would say or how they would react.

And as a result of one conversation, I have since developed a deeper friendship with one of the greatest people I've ever had the privilege to know. All because she had some similar types of issues and knew people who also had fibro or chronic fatigue. She understood me. For real. In ways many others couldn't. In ways that surprised me. Others would say they were sorry... see if I needed help with stuff... check in on me occasionally... or give me a rare hug. But the friendship I remember developing deeper last January will stick with me forever. No matter where we go in life. No matter what happens. I know we'll have a special connection because we understand each other in ways others in our lives never could, no matter how hard they try.

I hope & pray that you have someone in your lives you can rely on, trust, and know they'll understand whenever you need an escape from the rest of the world.

And now, with my official diagnosis in hand, I'm getting more and more brave... telling more and more people... and it gets easier each time. I get more confidence each time.

I'm finally at a place in this ride where I can openly tell people, without as much worry, without as much doubt, and with a perspective of hope. I'm trying to believe the best in people. That even if they don't fully understand, they'll at least listen and do their best to comprehend what this means for me.

That general human decency will shine.

And that those who are followers of Christ will run to the foot of the cross for me, and pray for me & with me, and guide me in his Word, and remind me that God is sovereign... God is good... and God will carry me through this trial.

I can only pray that I'll learn the lessons he's teaching me fully. I don't want to come back down this road again.

Dear God,
I want to honor and glorify you in this trial. I don't want to beg or ask for it to go away. I know this is meant for me... for my life... for now... for your purposes. I want to be used by you God. I want to know you more, love you more, and seek after you more. I don't understand why this is happening to me... why now... or why this. But I know that you are sovereign and reign over all the earth. I know you have me in the palm of your hand. And that this too shall pass. Whether I'm free of fibro here on this earth, or in my new body in heaven, doesn't matter. Your glory matters. I will honor you through it all. I will do the best that I can, in your strength. Please help me, guide me, give me wisdom, show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths. I will not be afraid, for you are my rock, my comfort, and my God. Thank you for this trial. Thank you for using it to grow me and mold me into who you want me to be. I do not doubt you God. I will not waiver in this fight.
For your glory alone.


DeedieLynn said...

Wonderful post - that is so great that God deepened your friendship by you being honest.
God bless you today!!
*Melody's mom

Rochelle said...

Thanks DeedieLynn! I so appreciate your support and encouragement, and you keeping up with my blog. :) I really appreciate your daughter and our blogging friendship. The friend I was talking about on this blog is a mutual friend of ours, and she is the one who introduced me to Melody's blog. She's pretty great. :)

My Life With Fibro said...

Rochelle, you do such a great job! Thank you for the link. I am glad you enjoy reading My Life with Fibro. I appreciate your meaningful contributions and your proper perspective.