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Why My Boss’s Text About My Chronic Illness Is Such a Big Deal

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It was a random day and time that I received the text. It was a link to the website “But You Don’t Look Sick” by Christine Miserandino. Specifically, it was to the page describing the Spoon Theory, which describes what it is like to live with a chronic illness, especially an “invisible” one.

In a nutshell, Christine (who has lupus) needs a way to help her friend understand what it is like to get through each day while dealing with the ins and outs of lupus. To help visualize and fully understand this, Christine uses spoons as a symbolization of the energy and effort she has to exert for even the most mundane of tasks that most healthy, able-bodied people take for granted.

To sum up, it has become a great reference for those of us with an invisible chronic illness to resort to when trying to explain day-to-day life to those who want to understand how we get through each day dealing with symptoms of our conditions.


The text I received that morning was from my direct manager at my job (who over time has become not only one of the most supportive friends, but also an amazing advocate for me both inside and outside the workplace).

The text was a link to the Spoon Theory, and it simply stated, “This made me think of you.” Of course, after years of being a part of the club I never wanted to join (club sick chick), I had heard of and read the Spoon Theory many times. But then it struck me. Had my boss really gone out of her way to try to understand my situation? Or even if she happened to stumble upon it, had she really read the whole thing, thought about it and then thought of me and how it applied to my life and my situation in and out of work?

While it may not seem like a big deal to most, to many of us who live with invisible illnesses, finding even one person who just “gets it” is no small achievement. Generally, the only people that “get it” are the people who also have it, as in also suffer from a chronic illness and have first-hand experience with life with a chronic and/or invisible illness.

To have the blessing of having someone in your life who goes out of their way to try to understand your situation (and even more impressively­, succeeds!) at doing so. Well, that is just one of the many blessing that has come along with having been unwittingly enrolled in this “club” that no one really wants to be a part of. And for that, I am truly grateful.

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Originally published: April 7, 2015
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