JoJoisms

Six Reasons Why Chronic Issues are Different

Written By: JoJoisms - Jun• 26•17

When I was about to have my first child, I went to a birthing class for The Bradley Method (different philosophy, but similar idea to La Maz).  The teacher said something I will always remember because it fits as a motto for so many things in life.  She said, “You can stand just about anything for a short time.”  She explained that when you couldn’t stand the pain a moment longer, that’s usually when the baby is born.  I found that to be true.

I remember thinking, about that quote as I lay in the hospital bed in agony dilated to 7.  The nurse said it would be HOURS yet.  I was only in labor for about nine hours at that point.  Most women are in labor far longer so that is what hospitals are used to.  Well, they never met Speedy Tabares!  So she walked out of the room saying to call her back when I felt the need to push.  Well, the minute she walked out, I felt I needed to push.  My husband went to go tell her and she sent him back in assuring me it would be HOURS yet and to tell me no, she’d be back in later on.  I was in so much pain, I remember thinking, I could possibly take another few minutes of this, a few hours?  NO!  So I told him to go back to her and tell her YES!  She came back in and sure enough, I was at 10.  My daughter was born just a few minutes later.

You can stand just about anything for a short time, but the longer it goes on, the more the stress of it zaps your energy, your hope, your strength, your courage, your resolve, and shakes your faith.

There was a psychologist I read about who was teaching a class on stress management. She asked her class to imagine holding up a glass of water.  Most of the students thought she was going to talk about the glass being half full or empty to illustrate optimism vs pessimism.  However, she asked them how much they thought the glass would weigh.  Many of the students gave answers, but she told them it didn’t matter.  It wasn’t how much the glass weighed that was at issue; it was how long one must stand there with their arm outstretched holding it up.  You see, you can stand there with your arm up holding nothing at all and, over time, your arm will grow tired.  Holding it up for a minute is no big deal.  While, holding it up for an hour would cause your arm to go numb and feel paralyzed.  She explained that it’s the same with stress.  While it may not kill you, it can destroy your quality of life.

Most chronic conditions will not kill you, but they can destroy your quality of life as the person you were is stretched and changed and limited beyond what you were and had ever envisioned for your life.

If you’re ever seen the movie Facing the Giants, you’ll remember that scene where the coach has the football player close his eyes and he coaches him a few inches at a time to eventually get him across the entire field with another man on his back.  When he opens his eyes, he is amazed at how far he had come because he was certain he couldn’t make it all the way before he started.  Life is like that.  We can stand just about anything for a short time and then we need encouragement and inspiration one step at a time to make it to the end…or just keep making it each day as some struggles don’t have an ending this side of heaven.  It’s how the old saying goes about how ones eats an elephant…one bite at a time.

There are actually six reasons why chronic issues are so different, devastating, and destructive.

1. What doesn’t kill you may, indeed, destroy your quality of life.

…and very few who have not experienced a chronic issue will truly understand this.

  • Over time these experiences will change who you are.  Not necessarily for the worse, but it may seem that way at first as you no longer will be able to do the things you once could.  If it’s financial, you will no longer be able to afford things like luxuries (or in extreme cases even basic necessities) that you once could. If it’s health related, you will no longer be able to afford the energy to do the things you once could or loved or desire.
  • Chronic issues force you to think ahead much more than you used to, to plan things ahead of time.  In the case of financial matters, you will be forced to not go to dinner all month in order to be able to afford to go to a birthday dinner with friends next month.  In health issues, you may need to plan to take it easy this week in order to have the energy to go out to lunch with friends next week.
  • It can be increasingly frustrating not to know when, or even IF, your current crisis will end.

2. Most people will not understand. 

  • They’ll make comments like, “You don’t look sick.”  or “I’m broke too, but I’m going to buy a nice gift for Mom. Why can’t you?”  They don’t understand…”chronic illness can’t be all that bad if you look ok on the outside.”  Their idea of broke may be different from yours if you can’t pay rent this month.
  • Friends and family will use the words tired and exhausted interchangeably to mean they stayed up a bit too late last night and think that’s how you feel when you share why you can’t make the trip to Vegas this year.  After all, they’re tired too.

I remember a time when we were so broke, we drove an hour to a grocery store because it was the only one in the area who took credit cards at the time and we had no money for milk and bread.  We mentioned our financial struggles to a friend of ours who said they understood how we felt as they were down to their “last $10,000 in their bank account.”  True story and, yes, they really thought they knew how we felt.

3. Feeling guilty for all the things you can’t do for others. 

  • For all the gifts you can’t afford to buy for your nieces and nephews…or maybe your own children
  • For not being able to spend time with others who are hurting because you just can’t physically make it out to see them.
  • For not being able to give money to deserving friends or family when they are in need.
  • For not taking your kids out to a movie or signing them up for an extra curricular event because you don’t have the money or the energy to get them there.
  • For not volunteering at church.
  • For not offering to make dinner for a friend in need because you can hardly sum up the money or energy to make your own.

4. You will feel the need to push yourself beyond what you can comfortably give to others. 

  • and this will cause you to over extend your energy levels or financial situation beyond what it can hold.
  • and this will cause you to have consequences like having to give up working the next few days to recover or give up some repair because you ran out of money before you ran out of month.

5. Getting angry or defensive when challenged.

  • and you will be challenged.  You may find yourself having to explain to the very same relative why you can’t come to the big shindig next year in Tahiti even though they were able to save up for it this year.
  • Explaining for the 20th time how you may have to cancel lunch for the third time because you just don’t feel up to it today even though you did feel up to cleaning the house yesterday.

6. You may find your faith eroding as you wonder why God hasn’t healed you. 

  • because He did heal So and So
  • You’ll wonder if God really cares for you if He is willing to leave you in this trial all this time.
  • You may wonder why me? What did I do to deserve this?
  • You may wonder if God is really there at all.

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”  It’s so important in our struggles that I put it up on the top of this blog.  You see, we can get down in the valley after a while such that we have a hard time pulling ourselves out.  That’s when we need others to help us up.

John 14:18 says, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Just knowing that someone understands what you’re going through and justifies your feelings about what you are dealing with can help pull you out of the valley.  And that’s why I’m here.

I am not a doctor or a financial wiz kid. God may not choose to heal you or put an end to your financial struggles, but I can help you pull yourself out of the valley so you can begin to see the joy and live a life beyond surviving!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

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Why doesn’t God heal me?

Written By: JoJoisms - Jun• 19•17

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why some people are allowed to remain in their struggle while others are delivered from their suffering.  We ask God and sometimes even demand that God tell us why He keeps us this way.  To some, this may sound like sin and maybe it is, but it is human nature and I believe the Lord understands why we, who have chronic conditions can come to a point where we can only moan a prayer or get to the point where we are so incredibly frustrated that we yell at Him or to Him.  Can you relate?

I think most of the reason we feel this way is because of the many devotionals (and I’ve read them all)  that point to Job when sharing about suffering.  They point out how hard life was for Job and all he lost.  But God healed Job and gave him back many fold that which He allowed to be taken away.  Have you noticed that God hasn’t done that for you?  He hasn’t for me.  But did you also notice something else?  He didn’t for Paul either.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but God doesn’t ALWAYS heal.  He doesn’t always solve our problem. Sometimes He says, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9) as He did with Paul.  Paul talked about a thorn in his side that God allowed to stay in his life.  Paul expressed that he felt it was because it would keep him closer to God, relying on Him.  Maybe this is the case with you.  Or maybe it just isn’t your time.  Maybe God has a different plan for you.  He seems to for me.  I’ve struggled with chronic illness since I was a teenager.  I’ll be 55 in September.  In case your brain fog has beat out your math skills, that’s about 40 years…or in chronic illness years: FOREVER!

Sometimes God allows His child to continue with the thorn for many years.  Sometimes He allows it until His child comes to the other side of Heaven.  Why?  Why would God allow such suffering?  It’s not always because that person DESERVED to suffer.  It’s sometimes in spite of the fact.  Like Paul, His child has a mission.

Think about it this way.  If God had healed me, I probably wouldn’t be writing this weekly blog.  I probably wouldn’t have a heart for those who struggle daily with pain and fatigue.  And you probably wouldn’t listen to me if I didn’t truly understand what you go through, would you?

If God has you in a season filled with struggle, pain, fatigue, hardship, heartache, maybe He has a mission for you.  Maybe He is using this time in your life or the rest of your life as He is using mine.  Maybe you aren’t a Job.  Maybe you, too, are a Paul.

What is it that you, and maybe ONLY YOU, can understand that might reach others?  What might your mission be?  What can others learn from you?  How can you lead them back to God?  How can you ease another’s suffering?  Speaking for myself, I can honestly say I’ve been to the point I spoke of at the beginning of this post.  I have shouted, “Why me, Lord?”  But I’ve also felt a sense of purpose in these last years that I’ve been posting my blog. Somehow it makes my days of pain and fatigue easier to live with.

I’ll have more thoughts on this next week, but for now, how do you think God can use YOU because of what you’ve been through?

When Your Symptoms Argue with Each Other Over Treatment

Written By: JoJoisms - Jun• 05•17

Remember how your kids used to argue over a toy? Mine! Mine!  Well, as you gather more and more chronic conditions, your symptoms don’t work and play well with others.  Just to list a few examples…

Years ago, my Hashimoto’s Disease and adrenal issues had my doctor put me on the Everything Diet.  That’s where your down to bread and water only you can’t eat the bread.  I was to cut out all dairy, all carbs, all artificial anything…blah blah blah…and even the water was ideally to be filtered by God.  However, years later, my parathyroids developed growths and leached all the calcium out of my bones.  My new bone specialist said to eat a bunch of dairy.  Seeing as eating nothing didn’t seem to help my Hashi’s any, I happily complied.

After my hysterectomy, I was thrust head first into full menopause and started gaining weight. I decided to cut down again on the carbs and sugar, but several of the diets I saw getting rave reviews called for eating certain fruits as snacks.  Well, I have Reactive Hypoglycemia so if I eat something with sugar, even natural sugar, and don’t have any protein, I get shaky.

My 18 year battle with insomnia and Fibro forced me into taking muscle relaxers, Melatonin and magnesium before bedtime.  I was told to take the magnesium with a meal.  Meals after 8pm tend to contribute to the delinquency of my hind quarters so I am straddling a fine line between heartburn and obesity by eating a slice of turkey or cheese and half a banana right before bed.

The last two to three months have been spent walking to the point of jogging daily M-F.  It’s supposed to be great for weight loss (I’ll believe that when I see it) and for my osteoporosis as well as my fibro.  On the other hand, it makes me tired and increases my pain so…whadaya gonna do?

I was taking Black Cohosh for my hot flashes, but my Oncologist advised against it due to the fact that even plant estrogen reacted with my biopsy so ANY type of hormone (HRT) is contraindicated.  Isn’t that special?!

Speaking of the hot flashes, my body is in a permanent state of “WHAH?” Most of the time I’m freezing. My hands and feet are like icicles and I’m often found under the blankets on the couch where the heat vent blows up through the cushions.  HOWEVER, when I get a hot flash, WATCH OUT! I could melt the paint off a Buick!

Somewhere in my head, I have a picture of a flame with an evil grin battling an ice cube wearing a parka…where all my symptoms choose up sides and Dueling Banjos is playing in the background.

How’s by you?  Have you got arguing symptoms?  Is there a battle field inside you?  Spill.  I’d love to hear I’m not alone in this…

When you feel alone…God

Written By: JoJoisms - May• 22•17

I’ve talked to so many women with chronic illness in the past several years that I’ve been writing my blog and there is one thing that we all have in common: we all feel alone at times.  We may each have a different set of issues, symptoms.  We may be different ages, have a different life experience, have different family dynamics, but we all feel alone in our struggle at some point.

I live pretty far from my family, though I talk to a few of them on the phone often.  I live one state over from my daughter and her husband. My son will be moving across the country for college soon.  I’ve moved away from many of my friends over the years and even the lovely ladies I’ve met at church live far enough away that I don’t see them much outside of church.

Do you ever feel like you’re the only one on the planet that feels like this?  Has your symptoms?   Has to put up with your struggles?  Day in and day out without a break?  With few to help you?  And no one close by who understands?  I know.  That’s why I started this blog.  But even my articles can’t be with you every day.  I am only able to keep up once a week and I can’t reach out to each of you every day to uplift and comfort you and to tell you that you are not alone.  But I know someone who can.  God.

When you feel alone…God is there.

When you feel nobody understands…God does!

When you feel you can’t go on another day…God can give you strength.

And when you don’t know what to do next…pray.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” –Deuteronomy 31:6

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” -Psalm 23:4

I’ll be exploring more about this topic further at some point so stay tuned for some encouragement that I pray God will give you through me.  Please feel free to share with me your thoughts on feeling alone in your chronic illness/issues…and how can I be of more encouragement to you?

My Weight Loss (Gain) Update

Written By: JoJoisms - May• 02•17

So about no score and two months ago, I set forth upon this continent a new weight loss journey conceived in the loss of food liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal…but not with women!

In that time, I have spent my weekdays either walking around my house 10x including up and down the stairs (did I mention TEN TIMES?) or walking on the treadmill for 20-25 min at a pace that would rival a go cart (okay it just feels that way).  I have, in addition, severely decreased my intake of carbs, sugar, and just about anything that tastes good, while trying not to starve myself for fear my body will be under the delusion that it was starving to death and store all my calories as FAT (but mostly in my hind quarters and thighs).

During that same time (actually it was only two weeks), my husband had cut down on his salt, sugar and carbs while cheating in the early evening with ICE CREAM and exercising naught.  (For those of you that don’t watch BBC America, that means NONE!)

Results: 

  • In two weeks, my husband had lost six pounds.
  • In two months, my post menopausal female body GAINED…eight pounds!

Yes, you read that correctly.  He lost just shy of what I GAINED and it only took him one quarter of the time it took me!

Does this seem a bit…I don’t know…UNFAIR to any of you?!  Yeah.  Me too!

So here’s what I’m doing about it.  I’m slowly stepping up my game.  Instead of 20 min on the treadmill at level 2, I’ve been incrementally increasing the level and am now at level 3 and, as of the time of this writing, I have seemingly lost two pounds, though the scale lies. It seems to depend upon what time of day I step on it, how many hairs I’ve lost in the shower, and whether or not I have inhaled a bit more air.

I know it may be an uphill battle only six months after my hysterectomy and full menopausal status (which took almost 18 yrs in coming to fruition), but I am determined to keep going…at least until my legs fall off.

And so I continue such that these calories have not died in vain… that this body, under God, shall have a new birth of weight loss — and that body of the JoJo, by the JoJo, for the JoJo, shall not perish from the earth…until skinny.

What’s your post Meno Weight Loss Story?  Did you also reach your *plateau* at the BEGINNING of your weight loss journey?  Or am I alone in this?

God is NOT a Genie!

Written By: JoJoisms - Apr• 25•17

I’m going to go into this a lot more in detail in the coming months, but I just have to put this out there.  God is NOT a genie!

When you are chronically ill, you often run into devotionals and gurus who tell you to pray and God will take away all your issues.  The Name it and Claim it crowd will try to convince you that you can have whatever you want: wealth, health, success, love, crunchy peanut butter, and the horse it rode in on just by believing in it and/or praying for it. Further, they’ll try to convince you that if He doesn’t heal you, it’s your fault because you have unconfessed sin.  

God is not our genie. He’s our Lord, our Savoir and He knows what is best for us even if we can’t understand it at the time…or ever.  How many times have you seen a movie about someone who achieved great things despite overwhelming odds or great tragedy?  They inspire others, don’t they?  Think about some of the Bible’s examples of being faithful to God?  Did God always heal them?  

This is not even biblical.  Where in the Bible does it tell us we can have whatever we want whenever we want it.  It tells us we can have the desires of our heart, but only after we submit to Him. It also says that the Lord can say yes, no, or wait when we pray.  I submit to you that God often says no or wait.  At least that’s my experience.  In the Bible, He told Paul, “my grace is sufficient for you.”

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

The problem with believing that God will heal us if we only ask, aside from it not being scriptural, is that you end up angry, frustrated, and weary.  Weary from constantly praying for something that never happens, frustrated because the struggle now includes wishing and waiting for answers on top of just having to deal with the every day problems we face just having chronic illness.  And angry at God and others for what we have to handle instead of being at peace with how we are and just concentrating on the struggle at hand.  Instead of looking for God to do what we want, we should concentrate on doing what God wants of us.

Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”  -Abraham Lincoln

War Wounds

Written By: JoJoisms - Apr• 18•17

Ever notice that boys love to show off their war wounds?  They eagerly relate the stories that came to create their scars–each in his turn trying to top the other’s story.

Women don’t do that.  In fact, we tend to hide our scars. We cover them up with clothing, makeup, and embarrassment.  It becomes a source of stress that someone will notice and that we will have to apologize for it.  We desperately look for ways to keep our wrinkles at bay, our skin from sagging and crinkling. We take sometimes drastic measures to keep thin, to lose weight, to cover up our widening hips.  In the dark of night when nobody is watching, we may cry over the person we once were and can no longer see in the mirror.  We look at our bodies and despair over what has happened to us.

Well, I’ve decided to take a page from the Men’s War Wound Playbook. I choose to look at my scars, premature aging, turkey waggle, and car accident deformities as a sign of strength that declares to the world that I lived through all of that and I’m still here to tell the tale.  Somehow that makes me bold instead of weak, an over-comer instead of a victim.

Most of my scars are in areas of my body only my husband and I will ever see, but one of them is now proudly displayed on my neck where all can see.  Some day the scar might fade and the lump may finally disappear completely, but for now, here it is in all its glory.

The first is a headshot of me with my laugh lines (well earned) and my turkey waggle and a hint of my parathyroid surgery war wounds.  The following two show more detail of the latter.  

The last one is a picture of my hand after the car accident and shows how my middle finger now likes to cozy up to my ring finger upon making a fist.  I sure am unique, right?  I’ll bet none of you have the same combination of war wounds.  

Won’t you join me?  What’s the story behind your scars?

Hello. My name is Surah Channa.

Written By: JoJoisms - Apr• 11•17

I’ve always been a bit complicated and more than a tad weird, but I always thought I knew who I was…until I had another of my precious conversations with my mom recently.  Then I realized that I’m what you might call: Religiously Confused.  ROFL

I’m of Jewish heritage, was raised by Atheists parents, married a non-practicing Catholic, and became a non-denominational Christian due, in part, to some Amway meetings and a Jehovah’s Witness who came to my door.  If you’re confused now, keep reading!

I was born without a middle name. (Shock/Horror!)  My parents didn’t give me one. I’m middle name-less.  I’m deprived.  At 54 years of age, I’ve come to accept that and embrace the nickname (JoJo) given me by my parents to fill the void. (Insert tragic music here.)   

I’ve said it many times, I’m not your average Jo…Jo.  I’m an odd duck.  So after 54 yrs, I’m just now finding out who I am! LOL  Here’s how it went down:

I talk to my mom nearly every day since my surgeries.  We live too far to actually see each other.  She’s on the west coast and I’m here in Indiana. We talk about lots of interesting stuff.  We could chat all day long.  She’s an interesting woman who has a love of people and their stories so it’s always fun to catch up, reminisce about old times, and learn about all the interesting people she meets at even mundane places like the doctor’s office waiting room and the airport.

So we were chatting one day about middle names.  I’ve always felt a bit weird because almost everyone I know has one, or two, or three!  As a child, classmates would tease me that my middle name must be horrible since I wouldn’t even admit I had one!  So as we were talking, I learned more about why my sister and I didn’t have middle names.

My maternal grandmother didn’t like her middle name and never gave any of her four kids a middle name. My sister and I followed in that tradition and so we don’t either.  We talked about how my grandmother’s real name wasn’t the one she actually used.  This is pretty common in my family.  I learned that the Jews name people after the dead to honor them, but my brother was named after my father’s father. They asked him if that would be okay and he said yes.  That lead to a discovery that rocked my middle nameless world.

Mom had found a certificate among the papers and related to me that her parents, my grandparents, had a naming ceremony for me at their Temple and gave me a Hebrew name. So I may not have a middle name, but I do have a precious Hebrew name given me by my maternal grandparents in honor of my grandfather’s mother, Sarah Hanna.  She sent me a picture of my baby book in which the details of the naming ceremony were written.  Next to those details was something else I didn’t expect.  I have God Parents! Turns out my parents’ dearest friends at the time were Catholic, though I don’t think they were particularly religious, but to honor them, they were named my God Parents.

So to recap: I’m of Jewish Heritage, raised by Atheist parents, given a Hebrew name and Catholic God Parents, who married a non-practicing Catholic and became a non-denominational Christian due, in part, to some Amway meetings and a Jehovah’s Witness who came to my door.  You might want to read that again.  I’ll wait…

But isn’t that sweet?  As a Christian, I’m so excited to feel more connected to my Jewish roots.  What an honor that my grandparents took the time to do this for me!  So I say again, I may not have a middle name, but I do have a Hebrew name…a gift given to me by my grandparents: Harry and Florence.

I guess you can learn something new about yourself every day! ROFL

And…My Meno Weight Loss Journey Begins

Written By: JoJoisms - Apr• 04•17

So back in October of 2016, I had my total hysterectomy and shortly thereafter I began putting on weight. More importantly, I began exercising, working out, dieting, watching my weight…whatever you want to call it. And so my Meno Weight Loss Journey began.

So I’m about thirty pounds overweight at this point, which on a small framed 5′ nuthin’ woman with a toddler sized head and children’s sized hands and feet is a LOT!  Several years ago, I stopped eating carbs and found that within a few weeks, I was losing waaaaay too much weight and had to slow that puppy down!  Post Meno, I’ve cut down on carbs/sugar AND started exercising and noticed that within two weeks, I had pulled two muscles and GAINED a pound or two!

We decided to buy a used treadmill from a cute little lady across town who apparently only used it on Sundays before church.  She bought it used from someone else on Craig’s List a year prior and it was now several years old.  About a week after we brought it into the house, it quit, but I’m still 30lbs overweight so I can’t!  Now we own a 900 lb paper weight!

Here in Indiana, it’s either too cold, too humid, snowing, raining, or Tornado Season which makes it difficult to get out and walk around the neighborhood even two days in a row.  Necessity is the mother of invention and creativity is its cousin. So I invent the JoJo Walk Around House Exercise Program.  It consists of ten laps around the inside of the house. It starts off by the stairs through the perimeter of the office, around the dining room table, down the hall through my bedroom door, to the master bath, walk in closet, around the master bedroom, through the kitchen, around the kitchen table, around the coffee table in the family room and up and down the stairs.

I walk quickly to get my heart rate up and to avoid lifting weights which, apparently somehow without my noticing at the time, caused the muscle pulls and body aches.  If anyone peers in through my perimeter windows they would probably question my sanity.  I, too, am beginning to question my sanity because I’M STILL GAINING!

People from my planet apparently don’t lose weight this way.  I’ll have to phone home and ask ET what to do next.  Film at 11!

So how’s by you?  What exercise program have you found works for YOU? Please share. I’m sure I’m not the only one from Planet Meno.  We could all use a good idea.

Don’t Judge Me by YOUR Yardstick!

Written By: JoJoisms - Mar• 28•17

I’m not “arguing for my limitations” or determined to “remain in” my chronic illness. I’m trying to explain to you why your Amazing Cure All didn’t work for me!  I understand it worked for you. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m not you.

Do you have my chronic illness or something else? Do you also have several OTHER conditions or just that one symptom? Are you 54 years old are are you 30? Are you also in menopause?  Have you lived with my issue for a year?  Six?  THIRTY FIVE?!  Have you just had three surgeries in the span of six months?

Did you notice I had cancer and can’t take hormones?  Are you aware that I just said I ALREADY TRIED THAT?! …and it DIDN’T WORK!  I’m sure I mentioned that…

If you’ve never lived my life, please stop trying to tell me how I’m doing it wrong!  If you’ve never walked a mile in my shoes, try not to step on them as you walk by.  If you’ve never had to deal with a chronic condition for YEARS and YEARS and YEARS, please don’t try to tell me, “all I need to do is…”

Why is it so hard for some to put aside their Positive Attitude Playbook and actually LISTEN to what I am saying.  I didn’t say I’m a negative person.  I don’t go around Woe is Me-ing all over the place. I’m not even saying that what they advocate is wrong.  I’m saying I tried it and it didn’t work FOR ME!

Are you aware that everyone is difFerEnt?  Notice how my hair is curly?  Yours might be straight.  Do you understand that what you use on your hair might not work for mine?  You may be able to step out of the shower and let your hair dry and not have it look like someone stuck your finger in a light socket, but I can’t.  To get my hair straight, I need to blow it dry for an hour section by section whilst putting each part in a big curler to keep it from curling up while the moist air of the bathroom works against me.

Know why there are so many different weight loss programs out there? I’ll bet you dollars to donuts I can find people who have lost weight on EVERY one of them.  Certain things work for some people and don’t work for others.  Everyone’s body is different.  If you don’t think so, think about DNA.  Even twins are not exactly alike in everything.

Do you know that many diseases and illnesses all have the very same symptoms?  The VERY SAME SYMPTOMS!  Think about what that means for a just a minute. If you are thirsty, you drink, right? I was watching an episode of M.A.S.H. once where they couldn’t give thirsty people any water or their kidneys would shut down because the underlying issue wasn’t just thirst.  Get it now?

You are not me and I am not you.  My issues may be similar to yours, but they’re mine.  I may even have the same illness as you, but mine is different because it is inside of my body.

Since I was talking about it before, let’s just think about something as common as hair.  MANY people have brown hair.  What color do you think of when you hear brown hair?  My husband has such dark brown hair it’s almost black.  My sister used to have such light brown hair it was practically blonde.  Didja know that, when I was a kid, my hair was brown with red streaks?  And the red streaks were HORIZONTAL?  I’ll bet you didn’t think of that when you thought of brown hair, did you?  My hair was so weird that a woman I had never met tapped me on the shoulder when I was a teen at the mall and said, “If you dyed your hair, you did it wrong!” My brown hair is probably nothing like your brown hair, but on my driver’s license it says: “Hair: Brown” just like every other brown haired person in the nation.

So just because someone doesn’t cotton to your idea of the perfect cure, it doesn’t mean they are “determined to stay in their illness”, are “arguing for their limitations” or are “being negative.”  Don’t assume you know and don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.  THEIR shoes, not what you think their shoes look like from where you stand.