To My Parents Who Are Fighting My Chronic Illness Alongside Me

I feel like saying thank you isn’t enough for the love and support you have given me. I’ll say it anyway, though: From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you do.

Nothing goes unnoticed. I’m beyond thankful for the several hours you spend devoted to helping me in your already jam-packed day, for the nights you lie awake with me in bed as I’m constantly getting sick or crying in pain, for the endless communication you have with my doctors, teachers, extended family and so many other people. If I was to list out everything I appreciate that you do for me we would be here all day, although I would like to bring up a few things that have really left me in awe.

Just like this is my first time coping with chronic illness, this is your first time at parenting. I’m sure the day you found out I would have medical issues you had tons of mixed emotions. I know you wouldn’t trade me for the world, but I can imagine from a parent’s perspective, you want the best for your children. I know every struggle I face affects you just as much as it does me. It’s a stab in the heart for the two of us. You just want to see me happy, and it kills you to know there isn’t anything you can do to take the physical and/or mental pain away — trust me, I get it. Please listen when I say that without you, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today and I very well may not be here today. Please know that despite this being your first time being a parent, you are doing one hell of a job and I couldn’t ask for anyone better.

You have stayed by my side when everyone else in my life abandoned me. You showed me that no matter what, if I need you, you will be there. When I break down and cry out to you that “I don’t want to do this anymore,” you give me a shoulder to cry on and remind me exactly why I need to keep pushing on. You may be mentally exhausted from trying to make sense of why I ended up this way, yet you continue to prove to me when I never see you without an optimistic outlook that you are the strongest human beings. You show me that as long as I fight, you will be there fighting right beside me.

I’m begging you to realize that you have impacted my life more than I could have ever imagined. You showed me the true meaning of strength and love, and that was the greatest help anybody could have ever offered. You are the reason behind my fight. I love you and hope one day I can be half the person you are.

Please stop wondering how you can help me, because you have already done enough, and I want you to focus on yourself for once. Please don’t feel sorry for me. I believe God gave me this life because I’m strong enough to live it. While chronic illness may take a lot from me, it will never take the love and happiness you bring me.

Thank you for being there for me, loving me and supporting me. You have truly done more than I could have ever asked for.

young woman standing between her mom and dad
Anna and her parents.

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