In last week’s post, I suggested that rather than seeking to solve or being critical of the persistent list of symptoms that those with a chronic illness may endure, a different approach may be more beneficial. I proposed the idea that by displaying empathy, love, kindness and compassion, you can help improve the quality of life for your loved one. I would like to emphasize that a few simple actions can help sustain those of us on the long and grueling road of chronic illness.
Below are ten examples in which others have demonstrated simple acts of empathy, love, kindness and compassion towards me that have encouraged my heart as I battle Lyme Disease.
1. Several people have taken the time to ask me about my illness. It is always okay to ask me about treatments I’m undergoing or have tried, whether or not they have made me feel better or worse and how long I will be on those treatments. Please continue to ask. I will never fault a person for not knowing the “Lyme lingo.”
2. A few friends and family members have connected me with other Lyme sufferers that they knew about from their churches, work, etc. I have met some wonderful people this way and have made some great friends even though I have not yet met any of them in person. We are able to ask questions about treatments and symptoms to one another and that has allowed me to form relationships with people that do carry the experiential knowledge that many of us desire.
3. One friend took the time to mail me an article she had seen in a local newspaper about Lyme Disease just to make sure there was not some new information being released that I had not yet heard.
4. A few friends surprised me with well thought out care packages while I was still bedridden and unable to leave my home.
5. As soon as my mother had heard my doctor suspected Lyme Disease was at the root of my health issues, she immediately downloaded some ebooks to her Kindle and began reading about it. She knew from the stories of others that the fight to regain my health would take a very long time.
6. Both my wonderful mother-in-law and my best friend had taken on the task of walking my dogs twice a day for nearly two years while my husband was working because I had been much too weak to go up and down the stairs or hold the dog’s leashes.
7. My amazing husband has enthusiastically celebrated every victory, every milestone with me from my first days out of bed after a year and a half to my first trip to the Farmer’s Market and everything in between. We have made a tradition out of capturing those moments and commemorating them with a pic on Instagram. Rather than feeling sad about what I may have missed, I feel victorious about what I have just accomplished.
8. My friend has offered on a few occasions to help me clean and organize me house. When you are ill, cleaning and organization are two of the first things that usually fall to the wayside.
9. My acupuncturist has generously remained flexible with her scheduling of me. She recognizes the severity of my illness and decided she would not implement her cancellation fee in the event that I would cancel my appointment with less than 24 hours notice.
10. Since I began posting more about my battle with Lyme Disease, I have many friends, family and even my doctor who have taken time out of their busy schedules to read my blog and post a comment. This is very touching to me as I now know that there are many people who are rooting for me in the quest to conquer Lyme.
Please remember: A few simple actions can help sustain those of us on the lingering and unpredictable path of chronic illness to experience a better, more fulfilled quality of life.