A Letter to My Future Partner About Me, My Illness, and How It Affects My Future


Dear future partner,

When you first get to know me, you will be meeting an energetic, positive, happy young woman with a quirky personality, a love of literature, and an affinity for terrible puns. Everything about me will seem perfectly normal, from the clothes I wear to the things I do. It’s only when I get sick the first time that you will know something’s up with my body.

I have chronic illnesses. I’m not sure how many or even what they are. All any doctor I’ve ever seen in my 18 years of existence can do is slap that nebulous label on my afflictions and shoot in the dark to treat my many symptoms. I wake up every day exhausted. My kidneys, liver, adrenal glands, thyroid, lungs and gut all don’t work right. My immune system is depleted to the point where I get sick every one or two months. I can’t lose weight easily, and I have acne scarring all over my back because my body has no other way to eliminate toxins. I can’t concentrate easily. I have depression and anxiety, and I eat a diet that has earned me bullying and teasing from the time I was in fourth grade.

I know all of that is a lot to take in. You have no idea how much time and money it takes out of my life and my parents’ lives to help me function just as well as I do right now. I don’t want you to think of the above laundry list every time you look at me. But at the same time, I want you to be aware of it.

Remember my chronic fatigue when I can’t stay up late talking to you on the phone. Don’t get angry with me when we can’t FaceTime because I’m so sick my throat feels like it’s on fire when I speak. Don’t make remarks about how we can’t go to certain restaurants because of my dietary needs. And please, for the love of God, don’t say anything about my looks because my health has affected them enough already.

Despite all that, don’t lose sight of the me under the illness. I am creative and happy and joyful and positive. I am a good listener. I have a good sense of style. I love to write. None of it is an act. If you plan on dating me and especially if you plan on marrying me someday, all of this will fall under your care. My illness and I are (unfortunately) hand-in-hand. So please, for my sake, decide before you choose to date me if you can happily love me more than you dislike my illness.

Love,

Amanda

Image via Thinkstock.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Chronic Illness

Black and white illustration of a woman with closed eyes, showing half her face

When Your Chronic Illness Makes You Feel Half-Visible

I had a conversation with someone recently. When I told him I was exhausted and in too much pain to continue our conversation, he rolled his eyes and said he was tired, too. I’m not the sensitive, wilting flower type. It takes effort and intent to offend me or upset me most of the time. But [...]

15 Ways You Know You Have a Chronic Illness

There are a lot of ups and downs in the chronic illness experience. Quite honestly, though, there’s a lot of humor to be found. Sure, some things may seem pathetic or sad or awkward, but those moments typical turn into the best conversation starters down the road. Nothing peaks people’s interests like “This one time [...]
hand drawn charcoal drawing illustrating a diffuse human portrait

When Sadness Lurks in the Shadows of the Chronically Ill

I’m stuck in a hole and I don’t know how to get out. Rather, I’ve been stuck and I have tried almost everything to get out. No matter what I do or how hard I try, there is always this deep, dark, unique sadness that comes with life-altering, life-limiting illness. And it’s always there, regardless [...]
A woman sits peacefully by a lake.

The Epiphany I Had About My Life with Chronic Illness

I had a major epiphany while driving home from work the other day. You see, I have spent so much time, money, and effort into healing my chronic illness. I go to acupuncture and chiropractic therapy. I use my TENS nerve stimulation machine and ice packs daily. I see a therapist and work closely with [...]