Monday, 15 April 2013

It's Not Just The Patient

lupus.cheezburger.com
I was meant to do a comment on someone else's post as my HAWMC topic for today.

Well, you can guess what happened, I started reading other blogs, and continued reading other blogs, and
that took up all the morning....

So getting back to this in the early evening, I still haven't found a post about lupus to put a comment on as such, but this post has been bothering me all day....

It shows just how far-reaching the effects of a chronic illness can be.

I found this in Dr Shashank Akerkar's blog (he's a rheumatologist, whose blog actually covers two websites Arthritis Support Board and Arthritis Support Board 2.

Take a look at this post of his:  Help Me Help This Lady with Ankolysing Spondylitis. Go on, I'll wait here until you get back.....

Pretty awful situation, huh?  My heart just breaks for this woman.

It's a very different culture from mine, and AS isn't the same as lupus, but do you know what? There's some things that are the same no matter where you are and no matter which horrible chronic illness you're dealing with.

A chronic illness doesn't just affect the patient.  It affects our families, our friends, everyone who is close to us. And it can destroy relationships and marriages, if the healthy partner is not willing to accept the other's limitations.

There's no going into a new relationship and keeping an illness a "secret" - it will become obvious with the next flare anyway, and then it looks like we've been trying to con the other person.

From personal experience, I can tell you that long before my lupus was diagnosed, my ex-husband was simply convinced that I was lazy. When I tried dating for a while, I ensured I was always up-front about my condition, so as not to have unpleasant surprises for anyone. (And certainly didn't need to go through all the attempts to try to do more so as not to look lazy.)

I've reached the point where I've realised that it's just easier for me to not be in a relationship. No boyfriend/husband means I'm not letting someone down and not irritating them by the  things I can't do. And I'm not risking my health trying to please someone else.

The story hasn't been the same for everyone I know with a chronic illness. I know of some lupus patients who have married, and whose partners are incredibly loving, supportive and understanding. Having a successful relationship is clearly possible, but it does take work, and it takes a lot of grace from the healthy partner.

This post written as part of Wego Health's Health Activist Writers' Month Challenge.

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