Dear IBD Friend,
I wanted to write this letter today to remind you that yes! You are still lovable. I’ve read your stories on message boards and support groups far too many times. Your story is one where you thought you’d found the love of your life… only to have that person leave you after your diagnosis. It’s a pain that no one should ever have to face. But the sad reality is that it happens far too often.
You Are Not Your Disease
I have said it many, many times before, and I will say it again. You are not your disease. You have a disease. It is not your fault that you developed the disease and your disease does not determine who you are or your worth as a person. Don’t let ANYONE tell you or make you feel otherwise. Having a disease does not decrease your value as a person at all. In fact, I would argue that it makes you a stronger and more compassionate person!
Some People Are Really Shallow
There are a lot of shallow people in this world… but not everyone is. There are some people who do not have the mettle to deal with difficult times. Some people, for whatever reason, do not honor their commitments or vows. Some people don’t really mean the words they speak when they promise to love you “in sickness and in health.” It’s not right. It’s not ok. It’s completely dishonest and it isn’t fair. Those people, at the end of the day, are not worth your time. It hurts, yes. But do you really want to be with a person who doesn’t love you come what may?
They’re In For A Rude Awakening
The person who runs away at the first sign of trouble is in for a very, very rude awakening. Anyone living life is sure to face difficulties, disease, loss, pain, and really sucky days. Challenges in life come and go. They cannot escape it forever. The person who runs away from difficulties cannot run forever. Eventually, their bad times will catch up with them… it may even help to remember what goes around, comes around. I’ve witnessed this first-hand. We will all face troubles in this life. Charles S. Swindoll once said, “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.” The person who can’t handle tough times should be pitied. Not pined over.
You ARE Valuable
Again, you are valuable. You are important. You are fighting a vicious battle. Not only are you facing horrors no one should ever face, you are conquering demons on a daily basis. Despite your challenges, you continue to fight. You are stronger than you believe you are. Just simply getting through your day is an accomplishment that no one but you could possibly understand. I want to encourage you to keep going, keep fighting–you are amazing. You will get through this… sometimes you have to take it day by day or moment by moment… but you will get through this. If not by complete healing, you will learn how to cope.
Love After Diagnosis is Possible
Having a disease does not mean you are destined to be alone. I have a lot of friends who have happy, healthy love lives despite living with a chronic illness. There’s my friend Amber Tresca, Christy Stone, Stephanie Hughes, Sara Ringer, Aaron Blocker, Kristin Harris, Shawn Bethea… and I could name so many more. I’ve been happily married for just over five years and am currently pregnant with our first baby.
You are NOT Alone
There will be many times that you feel alone. But you are not. Remember, there are many, many others who battle every day just as you do. So many people out there are there to provide support, encouragement and help lift you up when you’re feeling down. You just have to know where to find them. I found them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! And they’re some of the best friends I could ever ask for. Never discount the power of the internet.
Take Care My Friend! Keep Fighting!