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To My Valentine. Who Supports Me Through Life With Chronic Illness

Dear Valentine,

Sometimes I wonder how you still look at me the same way you did when my body was not sick, when my mind was not foggy, when there was no pain.

You dote on me. Every morning, you shower me with words of love and admiration. You take care of me when I can’t get out of bed. You encourage me after every medication fail. You cheer me on when I fight to advocate for myself.

You have dried my hair on days I am out of “spoons.” You have dressed me, gently put my shoes on, and fed me when my flares have not allowed my hands to bring a spoon to my mouth. You never seem to notice the effects years of strong medication have had on my body.

On days the only thing I can see when I look in the mirror is what steroids have done to the shape of my face, you call me beautiful. On days when I cry because I feel like I am consuming your days and your strength, you lovingly reassure me by telling me, “You’re not a burden. I love taking care of you.”

I am lucky to have you by my side. I am lucky that your eyes have the same warmth as the day you saw me walking down the aisle. I cannot be more grateful to the universe that the way you still look at me is one of the very few things I did not lose when I got sick.

I love you and I see you.

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