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A Minute in My Shoes as the Parent of a Child With a Chronic Illness

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Before you judge me, walk a minute in my shoes.

In a second, your life can change. You’re standing in the pediatrician’s office expecting a quick visit when she pulls up a chair and sighs before she speaks. The floor seems to fall out from under you but in reality, it isn’t the ground that is falling, it’s your foundation. Everything you thought you knew, how you thought life was going to be, your hopes and dreams, they fall away, sometimes feeling so hard to reach. You just want to crumble, to fall into the black hole that is now gaping open in the floor. You know it would be easier down there. But you don’t. You can’t.

The moment you realize this, your autonomic nervous system kicks in, and there you are in fight or flight mode and there you will stay. You will fight for the right treatment, you will fight with doctors and schools and sometimes even family. You will be exhausted and feel defeated and never quite relaxed. Your heart will shatter into a million pieces each time your child suffers. You will do your best to balance it all and to answer the question that everyone asks but no one really wants to be answered, “How are things going?” So you smile and say, “things are good” when you want to scream out, to beg for them to hear you, to make them understand. But you know all too well that they will never understand until they walk a minute in your shoes, and you wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Getty image by Kraig Scarbinsky.

Originally published: February 11, 2022
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