Dear Readers – Sometimes you steal the advice part of this column, deservedly.
Following is one reader’s experience with a chronic illness, the courage to thrive despite it, and the compassion to encourage other young adults facing similar health issues.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man, 19, in the process of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (Nov. 28):
Reader – “As a 22-year-old, with a chronic medical condition (Crohn's disease), I assure him that his life is definitely not over.
“Since diagnosis three years ago, I’ve graduated from university, moved away from home, and begun a masters degree in my dream career!
“Along the way, there’s been surgery, switching medication, negative side effects, but none stopped me. Please let “Planning Ahead” know that it’s still possible to live his life.
“The process of diagnosis and testing is very stressful. Learning that you do have a chronic illness is devastating. I had to grow up a lot quicker than some of my peers.
“I also went through a mourning period for what I’d lost - my healthy body. Eventually, anger, sadness, and denial will turn into acceptance. Whatever label his doctors choose won't change the reality of PA's symptoms. But it can open up treatment avenues.
“I suggest he check out the Invisibilities group at http://invisabilities.org/, especially their section on positive thoughts.
“There are Invisibilities chapters at universities across Canada. It’s a support and awareness group for young people suffering from chronic invisible illnesses (such as MS, Crohn's disease, diabetes, etc). He’ll be able to connect with other youth in the same situation.
“Having a chronic disease doesn’t impair you from dating or following your dreams, nor make you less of a person or "damaged goods."
“Because it’s an invisible condition, no one needs to know until PA chooses to share his story. Right now, he needs a strong support network of friends. He needs to come to terms with the diagnosis, and what it’ll mean for him, before he engages in a meaningful relationship.
“Please pass on this message to PA, and other young people with chronic illnesses. I’d really appreciate it!”
Ellie – So will they, as do I for your helping make this column a place of helpful information about the crucial ongoing relationship with one’s own body and mind.
Our granddaughters are two and a half and one year old. Our daughter-in-law says she’ll raise them with fear, to get the behaviour she demands. She has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and is possibly bipolar. She can't stand noise; the girls have to be quiet.
Our son’s even-tempered and tries to control the situation when he's home from work. He's also removed her from the girls when she loses it, telling her to take timeouts out of the house. If we raise this situation with her we'll lose any time with the girls.
She threatens to leave our son and move far away to her parents’ area. We're so stressed we're not sleeping.
Urge your son to help his wife handle her OCD, get clearer diagnosis, and a treatment plan. He has to be on her side to do this, not just issue commands, or she’ll leave.
If he or you come to believe these children are suffering abuse (“raise them with fear” is a red flag), he’ll need to consider custody challenge if things don’t improve. But mostly, his wife needs medical help and counselling to learn to live with her condition, and be able to raise her family in a healthy environment.
At some unknown time, with nothing ever said, my family stopped speaking to me.
Except for one sister who’d set her sights on my penthouse condo.
When my mother died, this sister telephoned me, but the family never contacted me. In the obituary, my name was omitted, along with funeral details. When my father died, the same sister called but refused to see me.
As will executor, she barred me from the reading because "you're not getting anything."
However, she called weeks later complaining she'd been "cheated." Our other sister had been left the house, nearly all the money, a vintage sports car, and other pricey perks.
Since the lawyer hadn’t contacted me, I realized I’d also been omitted from the will.
What greed and disrespect your siblings portrayed! However, I’m guessing you weren’t that surprised. No wonder you weren’t in touch, and live distant… but successfully (the source of their ugly jealousy).
Tip of the day:
If diagnosed with a chronic illness, get informed, monitor your treatment plan, find a support network, and LIVE.