Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

When You Have a Mystery Illness…

on August 17, 2014

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Historias Visuales via photopin cc

So many people around the world suffer with “mystery” illnesses that have, for one reason or another, stumped the medical profession. There are so many difficulties in having to live with an illness that is either: impossible to diagnose, misunderstood by doctors, controversial in nature, or simply incredibly rare. Many of these illnesses have no cure – at least not yet. People are expected to just get on with it, soldier through and try to hold their lives together. Odds are you or someone you know suffers in this way, so please take a moment to read this so you can understand better what people like myself are going through.

When you have a mystery illness…you feel like no one takes it seriously. You have pain and other symptoms but, without a diagnosis, people don’t seem to think it’s a big deal. They can’t see the pain going on inside. If you say, “I have cancer”, loved ones are immediate to show deep concern, offer prayers and help you any way they can. With a mystery illness, they have no way to relate or gage the seriousness of what you’re going through.

When you have a mystery illness…you have no proof of your illness so people sometimes treat you like a hypochondriac. They may not flat out say it, but they make subtle jokes about how much you complain or how often you are sick, as if it’s a choice or just in your mind. They have no idea how much this hurts those who are suffering without proof of their condition.

When you have a mystery illness…you see doctor after doctor and each time feel a little less hopeful that anyone will be able to help. You see GPs, specialists and are even referred to mental health specialists when the doctors stop believing you too. Many times they run the basic labs and then tell you that’s all they can do. It’s extremely frustrating and disappointing. It’s difficult to continue seeking help.

When you have a mystery illness…your pain is often invisible so people expect you to do more than you can. Sometimes you can barely get out of bed. You struggle to get chores done. You attend events but it takes all of your strength to maintain pleasantries. They just don’t see how badly it hurts.

When you have a mystery illness…you feel cheated. You watch other people being able to do the things that you can’t, and it’s sometimes very difficult to be content. It takes prayer and submitting daily to the Father’s will just to keep from sinking into depression and bitterness. It can seem like you are unsuitable for every role you feel called to: wife, mother, ministry, etc. It can seem very unfair. Yet, you love the Lord and know that His ways are perfect. You know pain is the result of a fallen mankind, and that God does love us, even though He does allow us to suffer. You look forward to a day where there will be no more pain or suffering.

When you have a mystery illness…you feel like no one understands what you’re going through. You feel awfully lonely at times. You are afraid to talk about it for fear of sounding like a complainer. You worry that people are judging you or simply sick of hearing about your health problems. Pretty soon you just stop talking about it. You just struggle alone in silence.

When you have a mystery illness….you struggle with fear. It is so hard to deal with health concerns and various symptoms without any answers. While hearing that you have an illness is no fun, at least those of who have a diagnosis know what’s happening, what’s going to happen, and can make a plan for treatment. When you have no diagnosis, you have symptoms that can be scary. You never know what to expect. There is no cure. There is no real treatment plan other than to manage symptoms. You have no answer to give friends and family.

For those of us who suffer from mystery or misunderstood or mistreated illnesses, day to day life can be a challenge. Let me just assure you that the pain we are going through is both real and sometimes intense. The fact that we don’t have answers means that we feel no resolve. We can’t come to grips with it except to accept that we may never have explanations or the help we desire.

I honestly don’t know how people who don’t have Jesus Christ in their lives go through these types of chronic health problems. All I know is that the hope I have inside me lives on despite the pain of the physical body. While others may not understand or take my pain seriously, I know that my loving Father in Heaven knows of every tear that falls and every pain I go through. He cares. He knows. He sees it all. He allows it but has promised to turn what is evil to good. He has promised to make beauty from ashes. He loves me and will not leave me to suffer alone. Someday He will give me a new body without pain. Praise Jesus!

I pray for healing. I ask you to pray for me too, and to pray for the countless people who suffer even now with an illness that modern medicine can’t cure. As for me, I give glory to God whether He heals me or not. I know His ways are far above mine. I long to be healed. I long for a day when my body isn’t consumed with pain. I long to be free from these restraints. Until that day, I just need to look up. I need to remember the sufferings of my Savior. I need to remind myself daily that this suffering is but for a moment and that an eternity of glory awaits.

If you suffer, please know you’re not alone. Know that Jesus hasn’t abandoned you. Don’t lose hope. God has a plan and He will deliver you. If you don’t know Jesus or haven’t committed your life to Him, I pray you will do so right now. Until you know Jesus, the sufferings of the physical body are not your biggest concern. You need Jesus now and He wants you. He wants to bring you comfort and hope that cannot be shaken by illness and pain. Cry out to Him and He will not turn from you, dear one.

If you have someone in your life that suffers from a mystery or chronically misunderstood illness, please be there for them. Show them that you care and believe them. Pray for healing. Offer help. They need it. Try to understand. Don’t treat them like it’s all in their head. Offer grace. Offer mercy. Offer support. Know that it may be a lot worse than it looks….probably is. You will never know how much your love and concern means to someone who is suffering and feeling alone.

God bless!

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One response to “When You Have a Mystery Illness…

  1. valeribarnes says:

    Read it, honey, and I loved it. So well done.

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