For the first time since my dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) diagnosis in March of this year, someone said to me, “You don’t look sick”. I think it was meant as a compliment, but it shook me nonetheless. I wanted to say “You didn’t see me trembling with exhaustion as I tried to put on makeup after the massive task of taking a shower and rubbing some styling crème in my hair,” but I didn’t. I smiled and thanked him and wondered if he was thinking that I should be at work and not trying to get disability.
I’ve been guilty of doing exactly that; looking with contempt at someone who showed no outward signs of disability yet taking advantage of disability benefits. Be careful how you think of others…better yet, don’t judge them at all. (Romans 2:1).
Throughout my life it seems that whenever I’ve passed along my obnoxious judgment on someone else, that very cross became mine to bear. Talk about heartfelt repentance! What I wouldn’t give if everyone who has to deal with “an invisible illness” could enjoy the nonjudgmental support of friends and family, and the kindness of strangers. Please keep this in mind as you go through your week and encounter other people in your life.
Wouldn’t that make the world a better place indeed?!
© Maria R. Conklin and Journey Of A Tired Heart, 2015-2016
Once a week, I show up bright and early for my 7 a.m. Toastmasters meeting, just as I have been doing every week for 28 years. (I did miss several meetings after being freshly diagnosed with a heart attack in 2008 – the year that, sadly, I lost the coveted Rise and Shine Attendance Award to my pal and archrival, Jim). But because early morning is my almost always my best time of day (e.g. minimal cardiac symptoms), if you met me for the first time only during that very early weekly meeting, you would not guess that I live with something called inoperable coronary microvascular disease(MVD).
I don’t wear a neck brace or leg cast or any other visible sign that something is wrong. Because this debilitating heart condition is invisible, I often look and sound relatively “normal”. And if…
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