Lately I've had unseen illnesses on my mind.
I don't like to focus on my heart disease. In fact, Matt often teases me because he says I "play it down" too much. I'm pretty sure for the first 5 months we were dating, he thought I had heart burn, until the night I passed out and he had to give me chest compressions to keep my heart beating... I couldn't really hide it after that.
Can you blame me though? There are so many preconceived notions about heart disease. Like, you must be unhealthy, or fat, or don't exercise enough. Also, there's the risk of running into those very special people that consider it nothing but a nuisance. You're heart disease gets in their way and takes up their time and mental capacity. To those, I say, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that my heart disease is a burden...to you." *face-palm* And let's not forget the people that believe because they can't see your illness, it must not be real. The people that say, "It must be nice to just relax and do nothing..." when I can't make it to something because my heart is tweaking, and I can't breath, and every 5 minutes I'm evaluating whether I can make it another 5 minutes, or whether I need to go to the hospital. Yes, it's so nice and relaxing fighting for air. And no, I didn't miss the hint in your voice suggesting I'm making it up and really at the movies with friends. *face-palm #2* If you think I'm kidding, I wish. All of these people are real and I have the pleasure of having a few of them in my life.
The other day I made the mistake of venting to someone about my exercise predicament. The predicament being that I love to exercise, I feel good when I exercise, I know it's good for my body to exercise and I notice I don't like my body or how my clothes fit as much when I don't exercise. However, my body has the smallest and finest line when it comes to "this is a good amount of exercise" and "are you freaking kidding?! you have a heart disease you idiot!" I can work out 5 days a week for 2 months and feel amazing and then one day my body stops and says, "no more." And I'm basically out of commission for who knows how long. I'm still recovering from exercising over Christmas break. For instance, today I was shaking my yogurt before I opened it, and that simple movement, sent my heart into palpitating, pounding, squeezing hurtyness. From shaking yogurt, people. Anyway, after venting to said person, the advice given was, "Then walk! You can always go on walks." And although I know it was meant out of love, I can't help but feel chastised. Like I was blaming any recent weight gain on my heart when in reality I was probably eating pizza and ice cream every night. I haven't eaten pizza in months and months! I have ice cream even less often than that. I do like my candy...but even that is not a lot, and when I don't exercise I try to cut back as much as my sanity will allow. My meals consist of salads, healthy vegetables, good protein, etc. The point being, I try. I try really hard. And it doesn't make me feel very good when people assume if I'm gaining some weight it's because I'm just lazy and fat. It actually makes me feel like crap. Obviously, if I could, don't you think I'd love to take my puppy on a stroll by the beach? By the bird refuge, by any of the number of parks in my area? Can't I get more credit than assuming I'm sitting on my butt all day watching TV, eating potato chips and boxes of doughnuts?
I would never wish the heart disease that me and some of my siblings have on anyone, but I would wish that they could really see and experience what it's like to be someone with a heart disease. Or any other unseen illness for that matter. So if you see someone, who's maybe got some junk in the trunk, walking and you wanna tell her to just give up because it's going to take a lot more than walking (if you know what I mean)... just cut her some slack. Because maybe that's just the best she can do with her given circumstances.