To my friends. My friends who stay by me. My friends who stand tall beside me, even when I cannot do the same. My friends who do not shy away, who brave doctors’ offices and hospital visits and medication changes and pain flares.
I cannot express how much your friendship means to me. I do not like being vulnerable (ironic coming from the person with an almost too-much-information level public blog). I show the world only what I think the world is ready to see, only what I think the world can handle. But my illness doesn’t work like that. So, on those days when I’m crying on your floor, unable to move from pain, or insisting I’m fine only to pass out moments later, know that the fact that you stay by me means more than I can say.
I know that our friendship has suffered because of this illness. I know that I cannot always be there for you when needed, and that hanging out with me now involves far more resting and planning for every possible scenario. I know that it’s not easy. I know it can even be annoying and frustrating at times. But the fact that you are still with me is something I thank God for every day. Because the reason I can continue being strong, continue living my life despite a noncooperative body, is that I have support from people like you.
It’s not just the 3am visits to urgent care, or the refusing to leave my side after an incident, though those mean the world. It’s that you still treat me as me, still want to watch tv with me, discuss music with me, and be around me as much as I want to be around you.
People tell me all the time that I am strong, because there is nothing more difficult than living with a chronic illness, but I’m not sure that’s true. I think there is nothing more difficult than living with a chronic illness by yourself. Because I know I wouldn’t have made it this far without you by my side.
So, thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for not shying away when things changed. Thank you for staying. Thank you for being my friend.