But You Don’t Look Sick – The Hardest Words to Hear Sometimes

While I’ve been setting up my new blog/website I’ve found all sorts of interesting things hiding in my computer. Here is our Christmas card that we sent out December 2011. I was diagnosed November 2010, so I was one year into my Lyme treatment.  It’s crazy to me because I do not look sick here, but let me assure you I was super sick! I hardly had an appetite, I was nauseas all the time and I had more “bad days” than “good days”. I was doing multiple infusions each day still needing friendly reminders from my support team (parents, Justin and anyone else who stepped in) . We still lived with my dad and stepmom and it took a team to make sure I was eating enough and getting in all my medications.

It was frustrating because people would see me and say, “you look so great” and all I could say is “thanks” or “yeah, but I feel like crap.” My illness could hide so easily and sometimes I’d enjoy the fact I didn’t look sick all the time, but most of all I hated it because I had an identity crisis. How I was feeling and what I saw in the mirror didn’t match.  I look back at this picture and I can’t even tell I was sick! I think that’s why so many people are mistaken when it comes to what a person with Lyme disease will look like. When you think of someone with cancer, you expect for them to lose their hair, or someone whose been in a car accident to be bruised and have a cast or two.  But with Lyme and other invisible illnesses there isn’t any flashing light that says “I’m sick” so it’s hard to tell and most people just assume if you look good, you must feel good but, this is an unfair assumption.  There was a part in the movie, Hitch, that this reminds me of:

Click here to hear the scene of Hitch and Albert

Hitch: “Tonight I want you to meditate on the image of an iceberg. Do you know why I want you to do that?”

Albert: “Because I’m cool?”

Hitch: “No.”

Albert: “I know, I’m not. I…”

Hitch: “Uh, I’m saying that you are an iceberg in that over 90% of your mass is below the surface.”

Albert: “I know I’m heavy. I am.”

Hitch: “No, uh, I’m talking about who you are. It’s a metaphore.”

I guess many things in life are below the surface. Just some food for thought 🙂

 

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