Saturday, October 20, 2018

When Chronic Illness is a Deal Breaker

wilted dying roses

It was only about an hour of my time, he had already asked me out on a date. But that all changed when I told him about my health. I've never had someone point blank tell me my chronic illness was a deal breaker for them. My boyfriends and friends have always been supportive and understanding of my health issues. I've been fortunate to surround myself with empathetic individuals.

I do not know what his reasons were nor did I care to know. I knew what was important, it was a deal breaker and although taken aback a bit, I was glad to know sooner rather than later and I hadn't wasted that much time on our conversation. My first thought though was "I'm glad this happened now and not when I was a teenager or young adult". I had my ostomy when I was 9 until I was about 15. Growing up with an ostomy was very difficult for me emotionally and mentally. My self esteem suffered greatly under the pressure of growing up with an ostomy and later it would be an issue after my ostomy reversal and dealing with Short Bowel Syndrome. I was not as confident in my body or my health issues nor was I as honest and upfront about my health as I am now. How devastating it would have been for my fragile ego as a teenager or young adult to be told that my health made me not good enough for a relationship. Now I realize this is not a reflection on me but on the person making such a statement and so I am merely grateful to have that person out of my life.

It also worried me about this person in particular as he cares for children as a nurse practitioner in a children's emergency room. If he could be so non-understanding with an adult, how is he treating his young patients for their health issues? And what about his future partner as her health declines over time? My heart ached for these people affected by his poor attitude toward illness. I escaped with very little time invested but my well-being is not in his hands.

Working in healthcare myself, I look forward to romantic interests and friendships with other healthcare professionals as we are accustomed to dealing with illness and all the usual worries individuals have about illness and symptoms can be put aside with healthcare professionals. Evidently this is not the case for all healthcare professionals but I still believe it is with the majority of us. Most of us are desensitized to symptoms of illness and disease and so we can let our guards down with one another. I suppose with any other field or persons, there are good ones and bad ones.

If you are confronted with a person who decides your worth is not deserving due to your illness, I encourage you to not take it personal and try not to let it affect your mental well-being as this is a pure reflection on that person and not on yourself. You are greater than this judging person. You are worth a lot and deserving of all the love and kindness in the world just like anyone else. Your illness does not detract from you as a person. If anything, it adds to you as you are a survivor with wisdom and strength others are not privy to with their good health. Hold strong in yourself and shrug off the haters.

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