Parenting and Chronic Illness

What This Picture Doesn’t Tell You But I Will…

May 5, 2016 | Posted in: chronic illness; support, Chronic Life, Lyme Disease, Parenting and Chronic Illness

In a moment, this momma would do it again because any mom would be there for their child! I was determined and would not be deterred from seeing my daughter’s first performance at a competition. She had worked so hard. For sure, it was worth it to hug her and see the joy on her face! But I need you to know the reality behind the picture.

You can’t see it well in the picture, but I am in my wheelchair with a neck brace in hand. To get there required a car trip where my feet stayed purple from circulation problems and my muscles were spasming. I brought a bag full of syringes, medications, along with special foods I need. An hour into the performances I felt like I had been jerked around on the longest rollercoaster while suffering from the flu, and my whole body wanted to collapse. Sitting upright became too hard, so I finally stopped worrying about being an embarrassment to my kids and slapped on the neck brace to support my head. I struggled with whether or not to navigate a public restroom because getting a wheelchair in there is a nightmare, but I didn’t have a choice. Getting from the wheelchair back to the car my joints were screaming in pain, I pulled several muscles that were weak and knocked my already bruised hand (from a previous slip) on the seatbelt. Could I please just get home to my bed where I can get my tachycardic heart to slow and my body to stop screaming at me? Oh yes, it was time for my IV infusion while we made the 1 1/2 trip home. Now I was nauseated.

Hannah Stucky Picture

Courtesy Hannah Stucky

I need you to know, not because I want sympathy or an achievement award. I need you to know so  you and I will always be reminded to think about what someone might be living with behind the smiles.

So many we pass daily carry deep scars or open wounds that are invisible to us. That man who cuts us off in traffic, the lady who makes a rude comment about the service or the wait time – those aren’t the only people carrying a tough load. Ever noticed the homecoming queen on her victory lap and thought of her scars?  A mom in the park on a beautiful day with her perfectly dressed kids playing and laughing. Did it ever occur to you that she might just be the one going through something you never could imagine? Are we the reason someone isn’t even bothering with church anymore? Because everyone there just smiles and says “how are you?” without even waiting for a response.

Maybe you see yourself in one of these people, carrying a heavy load and hoping you don’t have to pretend anymore. Today, you can be the person who looks someone in the eye and stops to hear their story.

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