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To My Friends: Thank You for Loving Me Through My Illness

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I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I also have adenomyosis and endometriosis. Any given day, I can experience extreme fatigue or joint and muscle pain, or I can have pelvic pain that radiates down my thighs and around my back. Sometimes strange things happen. For example, yesterday afternoon, my hands and feet went numb for no apparent reason, so I had to sit down and wait it out.

I don’t have many friends, and that’s intentional. I’m just not a social butterfly. Although I try really hard to be a good friend, and I want to be trustworthy and reliable, I can’t always follow through with my plans. Something hurts, or I’m fatigued, or I couldn’t get done with my work that day because of brain fog, so I have to work late after I take a nap. This results in canceled plans roughly half the time. I’m so sorry about that. I really don’t want to be flaky.

I think anyone with chronic illness will tell you that guilt is part of it. I’m always at least a little fearful that someone is angry with or disappointed in me. I feel guilty that I can’t keep plans because something hurts or I can’t get out of bed. I feel guilty that when I make plans, it’s usually with the caveat that I may not feel well that day. I often don’t make specific plans for this reason. It’s usually something like, “Maybe this weekend we can do something.” I don’t want to make plans and then not be able to keep them, so I just try to not make specific plans. I have the best intentions. But it’s too hard sometimes.

So, to my friends: thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt. Thank you for knowing that I really do appreciate you and your friendship. Please know that I really do want to spend time with you, so much. I do want to talk to you and keep up with you and your family. I want to go see movies, go shopping, just sit in a coffee shop and giggle. I care so much about you that not being a good friend actually contributes to my stress, which in turn literally makes me sick. That then means I can’t come see you, which makes me guilty. It then stresses me out, and the cycle continues.

Thank you for offering to bring me coffee or lunch or just to stop by. If I say no thanks, it’s probably because I’m asleep, not because I don’t want to see you. But even if you don’t come by, just offering to come by means so much to me!

Thank you for understanding that sometimes it’s difficult to talk on the phone. Even I don’t fully understand why, but I think it has something to do with not being able to cover up the fatigue in my voice. So thank you for understanding that phone calls are hard sometimes, and thank you for texting or sending a silly meme on Facebook. Thank you for thinking of me.

Thank you for being patient. Thank you for looking out for me, and thank you for allowing me to take care of myself when I have to cancel plans. You are important. I love you, and I’m so happy I get to be your friend. Thank you for loving me through my illness.

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Gettyimage by: gpointstudio

Originally published: January 4, 2018
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