Invisible

Today was supposed to be a special day. Today was the Walk MS 2015 in Joplin. A few months ago, one of our dear friends, Holly, was diagnosed with MS. Today, my family and I were supposed to walk with her and her family, friends and coworkers to help raise funds for MS Research.

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My wonderful husband and children did… I did not. That’s the thing about some diseases, they seem invisible – except to the person dealing with them. When I first heard about this walk, I knew I was in. I knew I wanted to walk beside Holly and her lovely family to show our support for her and everyone else with MS. Yesterday, I woke up fine but gradually started feeling “off” the rest of the day. When I have those days, the only thing I can plan for is that nothing will go as I plan. Today, I woke up and knew it was going to be hard. Then, literally minutes before we needed to leave, I started getting sick. Unfortunately, I already knew I was going to have to miss out on this walk… just like I’ve missed out on many other events at the last minute.

I hate making plans. I hate agreeing to do something or go somewhere. I hate having to be responsible for something. Some days, I just hate leaving my house. And I hate that I hate those things. I hate being an inconvenience. I hate letting people down. I hate letting myself down most of all. I’m working on this.

Some people you see everyday are dealing with what some refer to as an “invisible” illness. Basically, that person looks fine on the outside, talks fine, acts fine, etc. However, inside – things aren’t so great. There’s constant pain, suffering, negativity, etc. There’s a wide variety of illnesses that this includes: MS, autoimmune conditions, Crohn’s, thyroid disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lyme disease, IBS, IBD, food allergies, Lupus, depression, etc.

I’ll be honest – my health issues are something I prefer to keep to myself. I don’t get into gory details as they are somewhat embarrassing and I haven’t figured out a good way to cope with it yet. I put on a happy face so that no one knows what’s going on. However, I’ve learned that eventually you have to let that go. Suffering behind a happy face only makes the situation worse. You have to deal with it and you have to accept it. Don’t ask me how – I’m not totally there yet! Just because my face “looks” happy, doesn’t mean I’m not suffering constantly. I can’t speak (or write) for people with other illnesses… I can only discuss the condition I know, mine. The worst part for me is not knowing when symptoms or “flare ups” will happen. It kind of just blindsides you…

I would have never guessed that Holly was suffering from MS. She is the sweetest, kindest, and friendliest person I know. I never knew what was hiding behind that “happy” face of hers. When I found out, I was so surprised and at first, I was so sad for her. Then I realized, she has a wonderful family who loves her, friends that support her and lots of people praying for her. Plus, she loves God and I know that He will bless her abundantly. She’s got this! Her Walk MS team even raised the most money! The total amount raised for the whole event exceeded the $15,000 goal! That’s awesome!

In a world filled with such negativity on the news, radios, internet and all of the hatred being spread, I want everyone to just stop and give thanks for the good in their life. It can be hard to find… trust me, I know. This morning it was very hard to see that good when all I could think about was the disappointment I felt for having another bad day. However, I have a loving husband who helps when he can, children who somehow know when I need a hug, and friends who are understanding. We are all blessed in some way and we are all suffering in some way. Let’s help each other out when we can!

I hope that no one ever has to struggle with health issues… at any age. However, I know that it’s inevitable – it will happen. I hope you’ll help me pray for those and support those with health issues of any type – including those “invisible” illnesses that you can’t see.

Here are a few links to learn more about invisible illnesses and ways you can support research efforts:

National MS Society

Invisible Disabilities Association

Kids with Food Allergies

Food Allergy Research & Education

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association

Resources for Students with MS

 

 

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