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Invisible Illness

I always start my story with "I went to sleep as myself and woke up a total stranger." On September 2014 Labor day I suffered a bleeding stroke and brain anyurism, followed by brain surgery to relieve the pressure in brain. This was caused by a blood infection that went to my mechanical heart valves due to routine dental surgery. My doctors told my family that if I survived I would never be the same. After 3 months of learning how to walk, talk, chew, swallow, walk and talk, the doctors were right about one thing. I would never be the same.

Before my stroke I was a full time mom and hospice caregiver. I was independent, I raised my brothers sisters, I was the caregiver. After my stroke.. My youngest daughter became my caregiver. Talk about a role reversal. All of a sudden I was unable to care for myself. Instead of cooking Christmas dinner like I always did, my daughter's cooked.

All of a sudden I needed them to tie my shoes, cut my food, my daughter cared for me in the morning after working until midnight, got about four hours of sleep, then she sat an cared for me until my husband came home in the evening, then, after working all day, he had to cook, care for me.. I felt like a burden. I was supposed to care for them not the other way around. The fact that you are struggling with an illness or recovering from a traumatic injury doesn't make you a burden. Your illness, mental or physical doesn't make you undesirable, unlovable or undeserving of any care. It doesn't make you needy or to sensitive. It makes you human. With an illness or injury.

As many of you I am no longer able to drive, which means I have to rely on my daughter's or husband to get me to the doctors, guitar lessons, counseling meet with a friend.. That does not make me a burden, but it has made me feel like one. Where once I could just jump in my car and go, now I no longer can and have to ask for help. Everyone has struggles everyone has a difficult time coping, and at times, We fall apart. No one is easy to be around all the time. Yes you may be struggling with emotion, your moods are swing back and forth and sideways, and at times you may be difficult to be around, those with no filter may say things that makes others uncomfortable or sad. But all of those things are not who you are. They definitely do not reflect on who you are and they certainly don't lower your worth as a person. The truth is, you can be struggling or recovering, or ill and still be loved and cared for. You can be less that perfect and still be deserving of compassion and kindness.

Sometimes it's not about us being "to much" it's about those who are around us being " to little" little of zero understanding, little or no empathy, little to support. That's where the "I'm fine" comes in, sometimes " I'm fine" avoids being accused of being lazy or not trying hard enough. There will always be at least one "I'm fine" person. "I'm fine with my health, I'm fine" with people helping, fine with people helping, fine with My illness, I'm fine with my injury. You deserve to be taken care of, you deserve compassion. Your illness does not make you a burden, just means your going to need support and help. And you deserve help and support.

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