To My Sister, My Biggest Supporter Through Chronic Illness

As people with debilitating illnesses, we often write about things that bother or hurt us, things we don’t like or things we want people to know. We want to vent, let it out and spread awareness to promote more understanding and compassion among people. But sometimes, we forget to thank and call out the good things – the things that have kept us going on so long, the things that make it worth it to hold on for just another day. I would like to talk about that.

My biggest support is my family (which includes my five cats, one of whom has now passed away). I know a lot of spoonies have issues with their families accepting their illnesses, believing the symptoms or taking them seriously, but I have been blessed with the most supportive family anyone could ask for. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this far.

They have never questioned the legitimacy of my illness, not even when we couldn’t find a diagnosis, they never stopped looking for better doctors or treatments, they never even once thought any of this was in my head or made up or exaggerated. They have always unequivocally believed me and looked after me and supported me in everything I wanted to do. They’ve never blamed me for any of it, never asked me if maybe it’s psychological or maybe I should try harder. I am so grateful for them and I wish and pray every spoonie has someone in their life who has their back unconditionally.

But today, I specifically want to write about and to my sister, the person who battles her own problems, has chronic pain herself but works a full-time job as a doctor and mother of two kids under the age of 3 and somehow survives it all.

I hope and pray that everyone is lucky enough to have at least one person – family, friend, significant other, pet – who is like my sister and I urge them to always be grateful to them because it’s not easy taking care of or even loving us.

To my dear sister, my rock, my biggest support, my anchor in the darkness and my best friend,

You are my whole world. If I didn’t have you, I wouldn’t have been able to live through this battle. You’ve forsaken your own comfort and left no stone unturned and spared no expense in doing whatever you could to help me, no matter how outlandish or difficult it was to you. You remind me time and time again not to feel guilty or blame myself for being sick, that I can’t work, not because of lack of motivation, but because of physical incapability.

girl holding her baby sister

Thank you for being my sister, for being the light at every difficult turn in the tunnel where I thought I couldn’t traverse. Thank you for going with me to every appointment and every ER visit, despite how difficult it is for you to make time for them. You’ve let me vent, complain, whine and given me a shoulder to cry on when your own hurts with the weight of my head too. No matter how much your chronic pain impacts your daily life, you set it aside for the sake of everyone else and my illnesses, and I wish you wouldn’t do that. But you are inherently selfless, you don’t know any other way to be.

You tell me every day that you don’t know how I do it, how I survive this way and that I am the strongest person you know. I feel the exact same way about you. You are the strongest, kindest, most loving person I know, someone who’s taken care of me like an overprotective mother ever since I was born. You’re the person who gave me what I wanted even before the words left my lips. And you gave me my nephews, two more little but bright lights to help make it through.

All I’ve ever wanted ever since I was young was to be like you, but people like you are one in seven billion and I’m grateful to God that He chose you to be my sister.

So this one goes out to you.

I love you to the moon and back,

Your chronically ill baby sister who chronically loves you forever.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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

Related to Chronic Pain

nursing textbook about racial responses to pain

Nursing Textbook Criticized for ‘Racist’ Passage About How Cultural Groups Handle Pain

A passage from a textbook for nurses that describes different racial groups’ reactions to pain surfaced on social media earlier this week, leading many to denounce the passage as “racist” and causing the book’s publisher to apologize and remove the passage from publication. Facebook user Onyx Moore first published a photo of the passage, from the [...]
silhouette of a woman's face

Rethinking Pain Scales for Women in the Context of #MeToo

Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. “What would you rate your pain?” I have had to answer this question more times than I can count in the last couple of months as I have [...]
NA's blue hair.

6 Ways My Vivid Hair Color Reflects My Life With Chronic Pain

Dying my hair as a university student was an act of rebellion. It was a way of saying to my abusive father that he wasn’t in control and I could do whatever the hell I wanted. But in reality, even though I started dying my hair a little before that, I never actually went to [...]
black and white photo of a tunnel by the author

What to Do If You've Hit Rock Bottom in the Isolation of Chronic Illness

Loneliness. It’s something I feel a lot. I want to be out socializing. I want my friends not to pull away. Right now I want my old life back. If you live with any chronic pain or illness you know what I mean. You say no to plans with friends because you don’t know how [...]