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Adapting to Life After My Illness Became a Thing of the Past


Getting better can be scary. I know, it might make no sense at all. But let’s face it — being chronically ill and not knowing if or when you’re getting better is pretty terrifying.

Chances are, your life has revolved around medical treatments, various supplements, different medications, and a host of doctors caring for you. Your alarm might go off several times a day reminding you to swallow a few more pills. Your phone might ring and you’ll answer to a receptionist confirming your upcoming appointment, or you might spend hours researching a new treatment. But what happens when all of that changes?

You no longer have to set alarms for medications, your phone now only rings when your friends want to talk to you, and researching treatments is a thing of the past. You’re better and it’s an incredible feeling. The weight of your every day “sick obligations” has been lifted off of your shoulders. Now you’re free to live your life, making sickness a thing of the past and just a chapter in your story. The freedom is liberating, but at the same time a bit terrifying.

If you’re like me, you’ve built a wall to try and protect not only yourself, but those you love, from the reality of chronic illness. When the wall is no longer needed, the bricks will carefully have to be taken down one by one. Some of those bricks will come down quickly and you’ll be glad to see them go, while others might take more time.

I’ll wave goodbye to my medical support team as I walk out the door of the office saying, “Thank you for everything, but I hope I never have to return.” and let go of those who I have heavily relied on to help me get better. I might welcome friends back into my life, who at times seemed to be so distant. Or, maybe I no longer share the same things with them what I did before I got sick and find myself looking for new relationships. The foundation of my support system, medical or not, is changing, and it’s a little bit intimidating. Like a baby taking their first steps, I’m wobbly and unpracticed, but I know I’ll find my balance in every aspect of this second chance at life.

When I got sick, things were turned upside down, and now that they’ve been turned right-side up, I’m seeing the world in a new and different light. While many of my friends are in college, I’m at home taking care of myself and getting stronger every day. I’m slowly, but surely, taking on the responsibilities of a typical 19-year-old, and finding my way out of the fog that my life had become. On the other side of this fog, the sky is no longer cloudy but instead a bright, beautiful blue. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I’m finding myself dancing to the beat of a different drum. It’s a new world of firsts in a life after chronic illness, but I’m ready to take it on.

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Thinkstock Image By: LeszekCzerwonka