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5 Things Someone With a Chronic Illness Silently Wishes For

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Through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is natural for us to get caught up in all the excitement and forget what the holiday really comes down to in terms of its meaning. Considering that my Christmas list has been at least a mile long, I am no exception to this rule. One way my list will differ from the daily letters Santa reads is not only does my list include all the current fashion trends, it covers some basic wishes that all of us with chronic illness have. Let’s take a mental journey to cover some of the basic things that someone with a chronic illness would add to their Christmas list:

1. An Immune System

Having a non-existent immune system really puts a damper on daily activities. During the holiday season, the horrible infection we know as the flu is in full swing. Those of us who have a low immune system often find ourselves trapped inside the house to avoid all the nasty colds and infections that come with the season, or we risk getting the judgmental looks when we go out on the town because most of our face is covered with a surgical mask to protect us as efficiently as we can. If I was blessed to receive a top notch immune system this holiday season, the first thing I would do is I would attend my hometown’s Christmas parade with zero worry of catching a terrible infection.

2. Energy

One of the worst parts of having a chronic illness is the constant fatigue. I find a basic task such as getting up out of bed to use the restroom exhausting. Many of us who have from this horrible fatigue don’t even consider participating in even the smallest of Christmas festivities because we don’t contain any energy to leave our bed, let alone leave the house. One thing that really stood out to me this year was my lack of energy to put up my own Christmas tree. In the years, prior, putting up and decorating my Christmas tree was the highlight of my holiday season. This year, due to my lack of energy, my mother came up to my home and put up and decorated my tree, all while I laid in the recliner and watched, silently wishing I felt well enough to get up and help. If Santa brought me some energy this holiday season, I would love to take a walk through our local horse park and see all the beautiful lights without having to stop and take frequent breaks.

3. A Day Without Illness

Being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 10 years ago, at the age of 9, I have completely forgotten what it feels like to not have an illness. Practically everything that involves me, involves my illness. Not being able to spend time with friends because I have a procedure or a doctor’s appointment, and searching every location for the closest restroom in case I must make a mad dash for it, are just a few examples. If I was lucky enough to receive one day without chronic illness, I would embrace every single moment of just being normal again.

4. To Be Understood

One of the hardest things about having a chronic illness is that most of them fall under the “invisible illness” category, meaning that people cannot physically see that you are sick. The main issue that comes with having an invisible illness is lack of understanding from those around you. People who do not know what you’re going through internally are under the impression that since you look fine on the outside, you must be fine on the inside as well. That is hardly ever the case. I constantly find myself having to explain to others how I feel, and why I can’t do certain things. If I was granted the wish of understanding from those around me, I would enjoy the silence of not having to explain what kinds of tolls my Crohn’s disease was taking on the inside of my body.

5. A Cure

Chronic illness turns your whole world upside down at times and you find yourself feeling tired. Tired of the appointments, tired of the needles, tired of the medication, tired of feeling tired, tired of being misunderstood, and tired of feeling like your body has waged war on itself. Every single person who has been affected by a chronic illness silently wishes for a cure every time they get the chance. If I received a cure for Crohn’s disease this Christmas, it really would be the ultimate gift.

In closing, even though I silently wish for these things each year, I am still so blessed and honored to have a chronic illness and to help spread awareness. As the holiday approaches, don’t forget the real reason for the season, and make sure to hold those who suffer a little tighter this season, because you’ll never know what kind of medical wishes they’re asking for this time of year.

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: December 7, 2016
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