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To My Sister, My Biggest Supporter Through Chronic Illness

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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.

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Originally published: October 21, 2017
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