Monday, March 18, 2013

"But You Look So Good! Before You Know It..."

Are you familiar with an invisible illness?  Do you find yourself feeling ungrateful for being upset when someone tells you how much better or good you look, yet inside there is still the daily struggle of pain, nausea, fatigue, and so on?
Recently, someone whom I love and respect (and still do!), said to me (regarding TPN calories), "before you know it that weight gain will be from eating too many cookies and not an IV!"  Really?  Yes, I am incredibly thankful that I'm able to put on this weight with the help of TPN, but that does not mean that the gastroparesis or dysmotility just disappears.  It means I will have more of a cushion and strength to deal with it.  And what happens after that?  The digestive issues are still there.  Don't get me wrong, I always try to imagine a day where eating a "normal" meal, sipping wine, socializing, all happily return to what they used to be, pre-GP.  And it seems easier to think this myself and feel good about it.  But when others only see the outside and have no idea how it feels inside, or the fact that gaining weight doesn't make it all go away, can be a bit maddening at times.

"Invisible disabilities, also called "hidden disabilities", can hinder a person's efforts to go to school, work, socialize, and more. Although the disability creates a challenge for the person who has it, the reality of the disability can be difficult for others to recognize or acknowledge. Others may not understand the cause of the problem, if they cannot see evidence of it in a visible way."

Here is a wonderful book that explains this well and I recommend reading it, not only for yourself, but to help others understand what we are going through too.  

I am so amazed at the wonderful support and encouragement that is happening in the gastroparesis community.  Through each other and by doing our best to educate those who love us, we will continue to have the strength to make it through the day and never feel alone.  

Can you relate to feeling invisible with gastroparesis or any other "invisible" illness?

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