When Life Gives You Lemons While You're Dealing With Chronic Illness


You know the saying “when life gives you lemons…” you’re supposed to make lemonade? Well, what happens when life throws those lemons and, say, causes a concussion? It’s not as easy to make that lemonade now, is it?

I’ve been sick now for going on a little over a month with infections along with my chronic illness. It all started with me having an emergency root canal done. He had to numb me three times, and I had to return three times because I was either still having pain, or he had to finish the procedure. Needless to say, I acquired three infections after that at the same time. One infection was caused from all the medication I was taking. One infection was caused from the root canal itself. The last infection was caused by possibly a combination of the root canal and/or Bell’s palsy which caused an ear infection. So, it’s been one heck of a month. Lots of lemons thrown at this girl who already has a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and excessive fatigue to boot.

What’s worse is I’ve had a couple people contact me who either don’t have a clue what I’ve been going through, don’t care enough to become informed or haven’t yet acknowledged that I’m a born-again Christian and do not speak or act the way I used to. It’s incredibly frustrating since these people are supposed to be “close.” I’m sure a lot of us spoonies understand this far too well. What can be done about that? Believe me, things like this are exceedingly hard to simply toss under the rug and forget they’re there. I turn to God in prayer, or I speak to my folks about what the best solution might be. I already have an anger problem that was only magnified after the TBI had occurred. Therefore, the best solution wouldn’t be to just go off on each of these people like a female Hulk. It’s a waste of time and effort, despite the possible temporary release I’d obtain from it.

There have been many of times where I have thought about sending out a mass email or letter describing what it is I go through and basically filling these people in with the facts. Problem is, I realized if they are not considerate enough to learn by coming to me personally or doing the research, this only means they don’t care and sending that email or letter out would only end up in the trash, as sad as that truth is. Thus saying, there is no real point attempting to make lemonade with those lemons. Some lemons just need to be pitched.

I don’t want to come off negative, but a lot of people whom I’ve read about on Facebook deal with some of these very same issues and they comment on how much emotional energy they waste trying to make that batch of lemonade with really, really bad lemons. Yes, a bit of sweetness may certainly help with taste, but if bad lemons are used, no amount of sugar can take away that bitterness. Now, any lemon can be considered bad considering the way in which they are thrown at you. What I mean by good vs. bad lemon is how well the lemon can be dealt with upon being chucked at you. A good lemon would be an issue where you obtain a cold along with already struggling with fibromyalgia, for example. The cold won’t last a terribly long time and you’ll recover, but it’s an inconvenience to say the least. Bad lemons are when you get diagnosed with a chronic illness, and a family member goes around disbelieving and saying you’re “faking it.” Yeah…just throw that lemon out.

The longer you go in life, the quicker you learn about supplements. If there is nothing given to you that you can use to help sweeten that pot, you can use artificial sweeteners (a.k.a., tools that can be used to release your tension and stress without regretting it later), such as blogging, journaling or chatting with someone who actually does have knowledge of what you’ve been through and is trustworthy enough to confide in. I’ve been using artificial sweeteners since no pure has been found as of yet. I’ve just been pelted with bad lemons!

I’m not having a rant or pity party, not in the least. My goal with this particular blog is to provide suggestions of what can be done instead of going Hulk on those around you who don’t seem to get your circumstance. Can we expect them all to get it? Heavens no, but we can at least hope that those who claim to be close with us show an interest in learning what we go through and try to be there for us in return. That almost seems too much to ask sometimes, am I right?

This is why I rely on God so very much. He knows every single thing that has happened to me before it even happened, and He has solutions to every lemon He knew I’d get pelted with. Personally, I think that is just too cool. Now, of course I’ve had fits where I’m staring up to the Heavens asking God, “And why have you allowed these things to happen to me?” Of course, He has all the answers and knew each trial faced would in turn make me stronger…hence the Hulk analogy!

Plus, I have to keep in mind that regardless of my belief that no pure sugar has been provided for me, I’d be wrong and probably a little immature in saying that God has been providing me with quite a few scoops of pure sugar that I can add to my already overflowing pot of lemonade. Despite being extra sick, God gave me financing to get a new car. He gave me financing to fully pay off one of my student loans. He gave me the most incredible man as my boyfriend that I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing and meeting. He has given me a few people in my family who have been there since the beginning and know about everything I’ve been through as well as help provide support. Definitely pure sweetness there!

Thus concluding, my advice to you is to gather the good lemons and make that lemonade even if you do get smacked with a concussion in the process; have those trustworthy individuals around you help with making that lemonade if need be, and then rely on God to sweeten the pot. Don’t even bother with dealing with the crappy lemons. “One rotten apple will spoil the whole batch.” (In this case, it’s lemons.) Just throw it out, pick up your britches and continue with finishing that tasty batch. Share with me some of your good and bad lemons. What do you consider good and bad ones?

God bless.

This post originally appeared on Strengthening the Muscle of Faith.

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Thinkstock photo via Magone.


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