How Chronic Illness Changes Our Perspective

How Chronic Illness Changes Our Perspective

July 18, 2016 | Posted in: Chronic Illness and Diagnosis, Chronic Life, Parenting and Chronic Illness

We spend our days, our years perhaps, searching for answers, for a word that explains what’s happening in our bodies or the body of our child, our sister, our mother, our partner. We believe, we hope, we long for the word to come and bring with it perimeters, a treatment plan, hope. Surely, if someone can tell us what’s wrong, then someone can fix it, right?

But sometimes all of our hopes and dreams come crashing down with that word. Because when that word is spoken it’s spoken alongside other horrifying words, like untreatable, managing symptoms, life-long, life-changing, progressive, or debilitating. If you are anything like me, it’s in these moments your mind flashes to all the things you’ll never do. The places you’ll never see. The dances you won’t be dancing. The opportunities your children will miss. You see all the life that won’t be lived, all the loss. These things are real, raw and unspeakably hard. But these hard things open the door to some other things I’m truly glad we’ll never do. Our understanding unites us. Our understanding gives us insight as distinctive as if we wore special eyewear.

You and I, our kiddos? Here are three things, I’m glad we’ll never do, because we see things differently.

  1. We see life, not limitations. We look at people and see the beauty of who they are, not limitations. We look at people and see commonalities, not differences. We know illnesses can happen to anyone. We see sickness, not weakness. One thing we’ll never do? Look at others and view them as less simply because they are different.
  2. We see opportunity, not obstacles. We know that life can turn on a dime. We understand our lives may never be ideal and yet as rare disease warriors, we know life is for the living. We rise to the occasion; we show chronic illness whose boss. We see opportunities to raise awareness, find cures, increase connections and celebrate this life we’re living. One thing we’ll never do? Give up just because it’s hard.
  3. We see beauty, not brokenness. Yes, our bodies have gone haywire. Yes, it’s pretty lame. But we also see doctors and nurses rise to the occasion. We see our friends, our loved ones do the impossible. We watch the best of people called forth time and time again. One thing we’ll never do? Overlook the beauty all around us.

So, yes–––it’s true, our diagnosis may mean there are things we’ll never do. We may never be as shapely as we’d once hoped. We may never travel the seven seas (who are we to disagree?) We may never know what it is to live unencumbered by pain or disability. But we will be the ones people come to when times are tough. We will see life in richer colors, with greater depths, we will be the ones who rush to help others in need. Having known pain, we’ll seek to alleviate it when we see it in others. Click To Tweet Having known the loneliness and isolation sickness can bring, we’ll be the ones who reach out. I’ll go ahead and say it–––one thing we’ll never do? We’ll never scrimp on being awesome.

So what about you, what things are you glad you’ll never do?

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7 Comments

  1. Lori Wildenberg
    July 18, 2016

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    Perspective is a game changer. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom Stacey.

  2. Norma Gail
    July 18, 2016

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    So true! My pain has given me a ministry I never would have chosen, but I would hate to have missed the blessing!

    • Stacey Philpot
      July 20, 2016

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      Amen and Amen, Norma!

  3. Cath
    July 20, 2016

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    I tend to live more in the moment now and I don’t over look things any more. The simple things in life are, to me, often the most beautiful.

  4. Genevieve: Ship With No Sails
    July 20, 2016

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    Fantastic post. It really got me thinking and pondering about the question you asked. I know I will never again take my body for granted, specifically being able to just walk and stand. I will never again take being able to leave my house for granted either, I have become extremely isolated due to being in severe neurological pain/not being able to drive or sometimes wear clothes. Simple things have been taken from me because of my illnesses, things that were once a part of my day and effortless. It never occurred to me that I could lose these things. Its interesting to find this very blog because I JUST published one today touching upon this very subject of how chronic illness changes us/indentity etc. GREAT blog.

    • Stacey Philpot
      July 20, 2016

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      GENEVIEVE,

      I read your blog and I cried. So familiar. So truth-filled. Thank you for your words. Don’t you just wish the healthy people would realize what they could accomplish? Sometimes I wish they’d all snap out of it and unite. I mean their bodies would allow them to do anything. And together what couldn’t they do?

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