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I am not a football fan, but I know many people who are. And, in appreciation for their vast knowledge of all things football, I offer here a way for those of us who have chronic illness and pain to, perhaps, help them understand a bit better what we go through during their favorite season and, indeed all year. Here goes:
Life with chronic illness or chronic pain is much like being all of the players on a football team. Our days are spent formulating plans, and often changing them multiple times when the other “team,” our physical situation, tackles us, intercepts our passes at doing favorite activities, or otherwise thwarts what we set out to do. Sometimes, it is not possible to score a completely satisfying day, and we have to settle for kicking a field goal instead. Often, we might get partway to a goal, but get blindsided by a particularly ugly health surprise.
At all times, our faith plays a huge role in our ability to cope. This goes way beyond throwing up an occasional Hail Mary pass – it truly goes to the essence of who we are and how we maintain our strength. So, when we can share this faith with you, especially in prayer, life is even richer and more hope-filled.
The action on the field can get really rough. We can hear you calling out plays and suggestions from the stands, but it’s important that we huddle with our doctors, much like our coaches, and move from there. Yes, at times, we have to go on the disabled list and sit out any extra action for a prescribed period of time. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be separated from life; we really appreciate it when you show your concern and support, especially at the most difficult times.
Our medications, splints, chairs, and other necessities are our uniforms, intended to protect and strengthen us “in the game.” Like the pros, these come at a certain price, but we need them and so sometimes forego other luxuries so we can afford them. Of course, we do our best to personalize them – decals, insignias and logos are just part of our way of saying, “we’re down, but not out.” So, if my headscarf, covering my bald head, or my floral-festooned cane look a bit out-of-the-ordinary, I don’t mind – and I hope you’ll enjoy them, too.
Life with chronic illness and pain can be very grim. That’s why we enjoy a good half-time show. We like to laugh and have fun, and we are so grateful you help us do this, especially in the midst of times when the outcome for us might be uncertain and the stakes are high.
Finally, we really, really like it when people cheer us on. Down there on the field, facing off against the opponent, is tough. We have the bruises and scrapes to prove it. But, when we hear the roar of the crowd and feel their love and support, something just wells up within us and we push on even harder. Yes, although we might be down at times, with your encouragement, we’re never out!
Blessings for the day,