15 Things I Am Grateful to My Mom/Caregiver for Doing

When you have a chronic illness, life doesn’t only change for you. It changes for everyone around you, especially your family. I have had dysautonomia, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS) for about three and a half years now. Without the support of my family, friends, and church family, my illness would be a lot less tolerable. There are many people around me who encourage and help me as I journey through life with my chronic illnesses, but my number one person (caregiver) is my mom. Mom, thank you for…

1. Believing my illnesses are real: I have read many blog posts from fellow spoonies where it was obvious their parents were not that compassionate and did not believe their illness was as bad as it truly was. From the onset of my symptoms you never doubted them or thought I was making it all up or exaggerating.

2. Researching my illnesses: You have spent countless hours surfing the internet, studying books, and reading blog posts about my illnesses. You have familiarized yourself with them to understand what I am going through and learn how to serve me better. That means a lot.

3. Buying me things to help lessen my symptoms: You have bought me so many things to help decrease my pain and level of sickness. From compression stockings, to medications and vitamins, to special salt and sodium supplements, you spend money on those things even when we are not entirely sure they will help me.

4. Cooking healthy food: Thank you for the huge time investment you make every single day to be sure our family has healthy food to eat. Thank you for checking labels and warnings on packages before buying every little thing to make sure I won’t have an allergic reaction to any of it. Thank you for being mindful of the way things like sugar and wheat affect my body and putting in the effort it takes to make appropriate foods. Thank you also for remembering my likes and dislikes and not making me eat things I don’t like when my stomach feels sick already.

5. Homeschooling me: I don’t know how I could have made it through high school without being homeschooled. I never had to stress about not meeting deadlines due to my health problems. I never had to worry about classmates making fun of me for being sick. The flexibility that came with you homeschooling me allowed me to rest when I needed to so I could get my schoolwork done.

6. Driving me to appointment after appointment: I don’t know exactly how many appointments I have had this year alone, but I know there were a ton. Thank you for driving me to the hospital and back even when rush-hour traffic made it take an hour or more both ways. You’ve spent like half of your year in the car to make sure I don’t miss a single appointment.

7. Praying for me: The most helpful thing you do for me is pray for me. Thank you for praying for God to give me strength in the midst of my illnesses. Without God’s strength I couldn’t make it. Thank you for praying that God will grow me through this hard thing. It is difficult living with chronic illnesses but I believe God is showing me there is a purpose in my pain and that knowledge gives me hope.

8. Taking on my household chores when I am too sick to do them: There are so many things you do for our family around the house. Since I’ve been sick, you have had to take on many of the things I used to help out with. Thank you so much for doing them each day without complaint. Thank you for being understanding when I am too sick on certain days to do anything and for picking up the slack so often.

9. Not pushing me to go to college: I am so grateful to have parents who are not pushing me to go to college. I am too sick and in too much pain to attend a university, and you never make me feel like I am inferior to others because I have chosen not to go to college. Thank you for understanding how hard that would be for me and not pushing me to do it.

10. Serving me even when you don’t feel good: I can’t count the number of days when I have been feeling poorly and you have taken care of me even when you feel horrible with migraines and other things. You don’t let your pain stop you from helping others. I want to be like that. I am sorry I don’t look past my own pain often enough to serve you better. Thank you for being truly selfless.

11. Reminding and pushing me to do exercises/therapy even when I don’t want to: Exercising is so, so hard and painful and makes me sick for hours afterward, but you and I both know I have to do it because there is a chance it could help me get better. Thank you for gently reminding me to do my exercises because you know it is best for me even though in the moment it hurts a lot. Thank you for pushing me to do it because you know it might make me feel better in the long run.

12. Staying with me during my surgery: My surgery and the subsequent testing a few months ago was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. Thank you for staying with me the entire time and praying with me and supporting me while I was in the hospital. I know many people don’t have anyone who loves them enough to visit them, let alone stay with them in the hospital. Thank you for doing that for me!

13. Picking up my medications: Thank you for spending your time waiting and waiting in the line at the pharmacy to pick up my meds. I have to take quite a few, so you have to pick up a new prescription at least once a week. Thank you for taking the time to get my medications so my symptoms can be managed somewhat.

14. Responding graciously when I forget things due to brain fog: Thank you for understanding that a lot of the time when I forget something you told me, I am not doing it intentionally. Thank you for not holding it against me when my brain fog makes it difficult to remember some things. It is very frustrating when my brain doesn’t work how it should. Thank you for not adding to the stress by getting upset with me for forgetting!

15. Listening to me talk about my sickness/pain a lot: My chronic illnesses are a big part of my life, so obviously I am going to talk about them. Thank you for always listening to what I have to say about my pain and sickness. I am sure it gets kind of boring after a while listening to me talk about my pain for the millionth time. Thank you for listening patiently when I don’t feel good.

Thank you, Mom, for doing all these things for me on a daily basis! I love you. And to all the other parents and caregivers out there, thank you so much for what you do! Your sacrificial love is such a blessing to us, and without your help our chronic illnesses would be a lot less tolerable. To all of my fellow spoonies, take some time today to thank your caregivers and let them know that you appreciate them.

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Thinkstock photo by Kikovic

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