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The Things I Forgot to Tell You About My Chronic Illness

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We awaken every day and go about our routines. I fix the coffee and your lunch. I watch as you drive away. I say a little prayer to keep you safe each day. Perhaps, I didn’t tell you I love you, and appreciate everything you do for our family. I also left out the part where I am afraid.

I fear I am going to lose you. I know you too are afraid, and you don’t understand what I am going through. Sometimes it almost seems like you don’t believe me. When I try to explain to you about the pain and exhaustion, you bring up how tired you are from work. You tell me all about you.

I didn’t tell you that my arm not only hurts, but right now there’s no feeling in it. I can’t hold anything right now. It will pass, it’s not a stroke or heart attack, it’s just a part of my life. I am afraid one day I won’t be able to feed myself. I don’t know if you can understand, but, it’s a real fear I try to push away.

I think I forgot to mention, that yeah, I slept last night. This morning, like so many others, I don’t have the energy to get out of bed, much less make plans for the day. That list of things you want me to get done, you know the stuff you gripe about I have let slide, I will try to work on it today. I know, I know you don’t want to do the things you have to, or if you don’t do them, we don’t eat. This is different. This is unexplainable. I don’t know what is happening to me. I feel like sometimes I am still the old me, and I am watching as my body attacks my soul. The things I need and love to do, may have to wait.

Did you know that those cramps I get in my ribs and back have a name? I know, I still have to get the MRI, and I am undiagnosed. I know stay off Google, but seriously they call it a Intercostal Neuralgia. Can you believe it? Yeah, I heard you, stay off Google. But, what if it’s true? I have been going through this for so long, it’s almost a relief to know what is wrong with me. No, my doctor wants to check, this wasn’t just me on the internet. Fine, I’ll drop it.

I didn’t tell you about the times I nearly fell today. I am thankful I caught myself, but I sure am sore. I was paying attention; my feet just don’t always want to lift up off the floor. Sometimes, I take a step and trip over my toes. Or, I just wobble and I am on my way down.

I am thankful the medicine eased the pain in my feet. It’s still hard to explain how I am numb, but the slightest touch sends pain up my legs. It’s also hard to explain the twitching and lightning bolts that periodically shoot through me. Yeah, I guess I could go on a walk and get some exercise. It’s not good to sit still so much. Yeah, getting up and cleaning would be exercise, I should try it.

I get tired easily now. If I get too hot, I just want to lay down. Oh, I know I can’t. It’s not right for me to lay up in bed all day while you work so hard. I know, you have plans for me to go here and there. Just, do I have to stand and cook this big supper too? Oh, yeah, it only takes an hour or so to fry chicken. Yes, I still love cooking. I just … OK, you’re right.

I am trying to remember, shoot, what was that? It seemed important. Oh yeah, I am sorry I forgot. I know you didn’t, and it has to be frustrating for you to live with someone as absent-minded as me. I didn’t tell you; it’s been getting worse. Simple thoughts and words slip my mind now. I feel like I am losing my mind. I Google a lot, and no I don’t tell you because you will laugh at me, or get upset because I complain too much. I am too young to be going through this I know. I have to outlive you, I get it. I will. This isn’t life threatening, it is just taking my quality of life piece by piece.

I didn’t ask you; will you be able to cope if I get worse before they find treatment? Will you stand by my side even if you don’t understand? Can you ease up on your high expectations of me and accept I have limitations? I don’t like this, and I am sad. I miss who I was. No matter your criticisms and negativity, you will never be as hard on me as I am. I didn’t tell you, but I am sorry.

#chronicillness #chronicpain #undiagnosed #peripheralneuropathy #depression #brainfog

Photo credit: Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images


Originally published: December 13, 2020
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