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Why I'm So Thankful for My Support System as Someone With Chronic Illness

Thank you to each one of you in my circle of a support system.

Living with a chronic illness can be overwhelming. I am constantly overcoming obstacles.

I can forget I have this amazing support system, and try to face every hurdle on my own. I can become guarded and never fully open up. I can also let my condition consume me and never fully appreciate those who are a constant in my life.

One of the most important and valuable assets to have when living with a chronic illness is a support system. It can be doctors, family, friends or even online support groups. It can be one person, or it can be a hundred.

These people will be your foundation.

Whether you have just been diagnosed or have Samantha and her friend had your illness since birth like me, it is important to open up to those who love you.

You will need them for emotional support.

I can’t count the number of times my bestie and I started a conversation when I was in tears. I am an emotional person anyway, but medical worries tend to throw me into overdrive. We end the conversations with laughter and witty jokes. She has been my “therapist” since we were 12 years old. Having people in your life with whom you can talk about anything and everything will benefit you tremendously.

You will need them to help you physically. Samantha and her husband

I have an army of amazing people who help me every day. I can mostly do things for myself, but I do need some help. I have loving friends, awesome parents and, of course, my handsome and astounding husband. He was truly meant to be in my life and I in his. He never hesitates to help around the house or help with children. He has sat for hours in a doctor’s office waiting for me to get an echo of my heart or have countless tests done. And he never complains. To him, this isn’t a big deal. The fact that I have Marfan syndrome doesn’t even play a part in his willingness to help. He just does! My mother is another huge asset. From the day I was diagnosed at 2 years of age until I was Samantha as a child with her mother married, she was the one running me to doctor appointments and helping me after surgeries – and I don’t even want to add up the amount of money she had to spend on medical bills. She did all this without hesitation because I am her child. She gives me this support without question. She is still helping and supporting me through life.

Do not rely on your support system for everything. It’s important for you to know how to take care of yourself (as much as you’re able) when you’re living with a medical condition. But you still need them, and they need you, too.

To all those in my life who have been there for me, I thank you wholeheartedly. I don’t say it enough, but you are one of the reasons I am still here and pushing forward. The smallest gesture never goes unnoticed.

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