Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2013

Yesterday started Invisible Illness Awareness Week!

I was going to post yesterday but was super busy and didn't get a chance. So I wanted to at least post something quick today even though I'm just about as busy.

This is the first year I had heard about this, and honestly this is probably the first year I would have said anything about it anyway. One thing I've been learning this year is that it's okay to not be normal (not that I was ever normal as I'm sure my brother can attest to...). I've always been in a bit of denial about what is going on in my body either because I didn't want to acknowledge that anything was wrong or I wanted to prove that I could overcome anything just by working hard enough. In some ways I think I was also a bit nervous or scared because I didn't always know what was going on and that was a bit unnerving.

Obviously I'd definitely rather not to have to think about what is going on in my body and not always have to plan ahead and be on top of things, but I'm learning. It doesn't bother me as much to admit that my body does not react normally. My dysautonomia, gastroparesis, mast cell issues, food allergies, etc. do not define who I am, but just play a role in how I do things. I'm getting better at being my own advocate, both with new doctors and going out to eat. I'm also a bit more comfortable admitting to my friends when I'm just not up to hanging out because I'm having a rough day. I definitely still have slip ups, but I'm learning.

Will I ever "grow out" of having these illnesses? ABSOLUTELY. Will it be in this life? I don't know. BUT I do know that God's promises are always true, and He is my Great Physician. So if I am healed here and never have to worry about high fluids and salt or reading ingredient labels - GREAT! And if not, that's okay - I still trust that God is in control and He will be my strength when my body feels weak.

I'm reading a book called Jesus Calling, which is written as letters from God to us. This is a passage I read the other day that is exactly what I have been learning:

"Grow strong in your weakness. Some of My children I've gifted with abundant strength and stamina. Others, like you, have received the humble gift of frailty. Your fragility is not a punishment, not does it indicate lack of faith. On the contrary, weak ones like you must live by faith, depending on Me to get you through the day. I am developing your ability to trust Me, to lean on Me, rather than on your understanding. Your natural preference is to plan out your day, knowing what will happen when. My preference is for you to depend on Me continually, trusting Me to guide you and strengthen you as needed. This is how you grow strong in your weakness."

If I had any say in the matter, I'd choose strength over weakness, but when God puts it like this...how can I argue?? Haha

I want to raise awareness for the rare conditions that are not well known so I, as a patient, do not have to educate the doctors that I'm going to see. I want there to be more research funding for this area of the medical field so better treatments, diagnostic criteria, and prevention/cures can be developed. So I want to support Invisible Illness Awareness Week this year because it's part of who I am and that's OKAY!

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