When I look at myself in the mirror the illnesses are invisible even to me, that is until I wince.

If I stand there fully clothed with socks and shoes, I can’t see it. I take off my socks and there’s the first sign of trouble. Hammer toes, flat feet, I still can’t see that the right leg is one inch shorter.

My weight looks like the reason my back hurts, maybe if……….

I start to list off the reasons my body is wracked with pain but I only get to the third one before stopping, still I can’t see them, not even I can see them.

I’ve been asleep for a long time but I have to go back to sleep. I was going to have a spiced, baked pear with a simple Earl Grey but I slept through all that.

You know, people with a chronic illness are expected to be strong, expected to encourage, enlighten and stir others to stop thinking of their pain and sorrow and keep moving. Yet, when we see people on the news or hear of a heart touching story we feel for them. We feel sorry that this has happened to them and think of how horrible it would be if it had happened to us. So I ask, at what point can I acknowledge my own pain and look for encouragement elsewhere without being guilted?

I see that there are many, many lives worse than my own. There are children who suffered worse abuse than I did and there are adults who have more chronic illnesses and pain than I do. I know this and I am moved for them but this in no way diminishes my pain. Seeing the pain of others does not make mine disappear.

I don’t feel well today. Today was another 9-10 day where the only mercy shown was passing out. Every inch of me hurts. My lower body spasmed as if I were giving birth. Sometimes I have the charlie horse pain, but the other spasming stays in the lower back area and in the crotch area so that everything in that area seizes tightly then lets go. Tighten, let go, tighten, let go. The sciatic nerve is mad upset, throbbing and shooting pain down my left side. All this went on for way too long. My neck and shoulders are rock solid, aching from physical therapy.

When I look in the mirror my chronic illnesses are invisible even to me. When I look in my eyes I see them ever clear.


written October 13, 2016 – 11:30pm EST

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