When diagnosed with a chronic illness our fears multiply over time! We fear our bodies, our finances, relationships, God, etc. Research shows that the chronically ill’s three greatest fears are fear of disfigurement, disability, and abandonment. I’ve experienced all three realities.
I had to be taken from VNA to my doctor’ office with my second pulmonary embolus and on to the hospital for 5 days of IV Heparin and then months of oral Coumadin.
I was scared to death that I was having another embolus every time I had some kind of chest pain! I learned over time to differentiate pain from peri-carditis, pleuritis, and costochondritis. These things wouldn’t kill me and over time would resolve over time with proper rest and medications.. . no big deal. It took a time of systematic desensitization to reduce my fear to be more realistic.
The same happened over time with a lot of other symptoms since lupus can affect any part of the body. There was also the fear of relationships and what people would think of me. There were many couldn’t get it, didn’t know they didn’t get it, and I couldn’t make them get it! I just needed to learn to take them where they were and let the “But you look so good!” graze by me when I tried to share honestly how I was doing.
There was, in addition, the fear of disability and loss of so many freedoms. We had just bought a new home. We needed my paycheck to pay the mortgage and I was moving up the ranks in VNA. Disability became a reality when I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to return to work. The Lord sent me a blessed lawyer to guide me through the SS disability process that took 2 years.
I needed to learn to love and accept myself as a human being and not a human doing. That took the love of the Lord flowing through me. The perfect love of the Lord that led me to where I am today!
About the Author:
Kathleen S. Lewis, RN, MS, PC, MP: has lived with SLE and many other rheumatic diseases since 1978; is the author of CELEBRATE LIFE … NEW ATTITUDES FOR LIVING WITH CHRONIC ILLNES; runs a counseling ministry, Celebrate Life, by phone and Internet; is a Stephen minister; has 2 adult sons and 4 magical grandchildren; resides in Atlanta, GA. with LB, the best Peek-a-Poo ever; and knows “In my weakness is Your strength.” Drop her a line at email@example.com.