With Invisible Illness Week right around the corner it has had me thinking what my life is like living with an invisible illness. For me it has been trying to say the least.
I, like so many others who I have talked to, was a perfectly healthy, full-of-energy, lots-of-stamina, wife, mother, and business woman– until one day all of that changed.
When I say “one day” it seemed as though one day I was fine the next my whole world was changed. Not only did it change my life, but it changed my whole family’s life. The wife and mother they knew who coudl– and would–do anything they needed, was now too tired, in too much pain, or mentally couldn’t remember small details that were so important to them.
Here we are six years later and I sit here trying to make this make sense with as few words as I can I can say: I have the utmost certainty that God’s Grace, Mercy and Love, has walked our family through this Journey. It has not been easy. Lot’s of doctors’ appointment, lots of disappointment in trying to find answers. And trying to learn a new normal in our lives.
I think the hardest thing for me was admitting there was something wrong with me and listening to my body; Not worrying about what people were thinking about me.
When you look normal on the outside, meaning you show no outward signs of being sick, you know that people have a hard time understanding or having sympathy to your illness. This is something that I know first hand. I was one of those people.
That I know is one of the things that God wanted me to learn through my own illness.
My family has learned a new normal. We all understand that it may have to be adjusted day by day, but communication and honesty about how I feel is a huge key it keeping a peace around our house! No matter what God is with me always and with Him I can do all things! Maybe not the way I used to, but by His grace I find a new way!
Keri Delphia is a very social person who loves to be around people. She began her career as a hairstylist in 1987 and was passionate about it until she was no longer able to do it in 2007. Now she manages a hair salon part time and enjoys sharing her knowledge with the stylists that are just starting their careers. She has been married for 16 years and has two boys 19 and 9! They are a true joy in her life! She also has 12 chickens and 1 Rooster–quite a hoot and she loves the fresh eggs. She lives with Thalamic Pain Syndrome and has been suffering for 5 years now, but it has just been recently that she was diagnosed. Visit her blog, Pain Free Journey for more writings such as this.
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Pam shares on her blog, The Journey Leads Home, “In preparation for Invisible Illness Awareness Month I thought that this video by Tenth Avenue North would be appropriate for the entries I will be making in the days ahead to bring awareness to those of us with an Invisible Illness.”
Pam is a 43-year-old stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) who has been married for 23 years to her college sweetheart. They have two children; a boy 16, a girl 15. She says, “I battle fibromyalgia, IBS and depression every day. I thought parenting with all of that was difficult until we hit the teen years. How do I do this?” Visit her blog, “The Journey Leads Home.”
- “I Just Want To Help!” When People Comment On Your Illness (invisibleillnessweek.com)
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I am currently reading the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend. I’m not really far into it yet, but I am discovering all the areas of my life that could be different by knowing my limits in every aspect of daily life.
Unfortunately (or fortunately – depending on your perspective) one of the first opportunities that I am actively choosing to use the methods the book has taught me is in my workout routine. Not quite the place you expect boundaries to be a “bad” thing. For some people the more intense the workout the better. You know, push past the wall and all that jazz. Where is the need for a boundary in that? But about 8 weeks ago I began working out with a personal trainer at Urban Active Fitness gym. How that can be a bad thing?
Let’s just say the term “too much of a good thing” is true.
I have learned that I have limitations because of my physical health. I figured it is working out so it would be good for me. So the harder I work the better it will be for me. WRONG!
So my trainer and I made some adjustments to accommodate my physical condition. STILL WRONG!
After each workout I would go into a fibro flare which would put me in bed and OUT of the daily life of my family.
THE VERY THING I WAS TRYING TO AVOID.
It was hard for me to see this. Last summer had such great results – I was walking everyday, sometimes twice a day. I was stretching and doing floor exercises at home every day, sometimes twice a day. Now I figured by adding in a personal trainer things would get every better. WRONG!
So last night Ron and I talked and decided that the working out at the gym with a trainer was the common denominator in my increased fibro flare ups. . . so we decided to let it go. It is so hard for me to admit that I can’t do something. It’s not hard for me to admit that I don’t want to do something. But I wanted this so bad. I want desperately to get better/healthier. It’s hard for me to admit that I have to limit myself in something I so desperately want to accomplish. However, you can’t make a fibro-wracked body do something it just can’t do.
I have learned once again that I have a limit. I have discovered a boundary. I have learned that when I step across said boundary it is UNhealthy for me. If I stay on the safe side of the boundary my life and body feel more balanced and healthier.
I admit that right now I feel like a quitter. But I’m trying to overcome those negative feelings and see this as a positive sign. It’s a sign that is directing me to a healthier, happier and more involved wife/parent/friend/person.
What limits do you have to face? What boundaries do you have that need to be highlighted in your life? It’s not easy. But it will be worth it to recognize them and abide by them. I’m sure of it!
You can read more comments from others in our Sunroom at Rest Ministries.
Pam is a 43-year-old stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) who has been married for 23 years to her college sweetheart. They have two children; a boy 16, a girl 15. She says, “I battle fibromyalgia, IBS and depression every day. I thought parenting with all of that was difficult until we hit the teen years. How do I do this?”
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Have you ordered Invisible Illness Week cards yet? These 4 x 9 “rack cards” are a heavy glossy card stock like what you see in hotels which is why the shape is called a “rack card.”
You can use either side as the back or the front. One side tells all about Invisible Illness Week, the other side has information on what to say/do for a chronically ill friend.
- They are perfect to hand out to friends or family members who may be interested in the virtual conference.
- Have them available at a resource table.
- Leave them at your local fitness center, doctor’s office waiting rooms, anywhere they will let ya!
- Be sure to give some to your local church. The people in charge of serving the elderly or chronically ill may want them to pass along.
- Call your local hospital and see if you can drop some off for their waiting areas or to post on the bulletin board.
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We’re Tweeting these for 20 days!
Thank you for tweeting any of them any time! Oftentimes people are told what not to say. This is a great help in giving them an idea of what to say! Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below. We’d love to hear them!
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #1 I don’t know what to say, but I care about you #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #2 I’m going to the grocery, what can I get you? #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #3 Do you just need to vent? I’m all ears! #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #4 If you need a good cry, I’ve got plenty of tissues and a shoulder #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #5 I really admire how you are handling this. I know its difficult. #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #6 I’m bringing dinner Thursday. Do you want lasagna or chicken? #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #7 Can I get your kids 4 a playdate? My kids R bored. #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #8 I cant sit still. Got any laundry I can fold? #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL -Things TO SAY to an ill person #9 What can I pray 4 you about that no one else is praying 4? #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #10 Can I bring a few friends over 2 clean your house fast? #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #11 I don’t have any idea what U R feeling, but I will always listen #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #12 I saw these flowers & thought they’d cheer you 2day #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #13 How can our church encourage those with chronic illness? #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #14 Tell me what it is really like to be you for a day #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #15 I made too much dinner for our family. Can I bring U some? #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #16 U R amazing. How has your illness given you appreciation 4 life? #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #17 Do U want me 2 come over while U wait 4 test results? #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #18 U listen 2 me better than any other friend. Thanks #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #19 I have Monday free if you need me 2 run some errands or take you #iiwk10
http://ow.ly/h2tL Things TO SAY to an ill person #20 – Tell me about this God who gets U thru 1 more day? #iiwk10
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