We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
~The United States Declaration of Independence
These are perhaps some of the most famous words ever written about independence. Too bad chronic illness throws a monkey wrench into the pursuit of these inalienable rights. Suddenly everything we hold dear is affected by illness and we are often left feeling so much less than equal. Unfortunately, independence is one of many things that can get changed, modified and taken away when you start living with chronic illness, day in and day out.
Today I have the honor and privilege to showcase what independence means to persons living with chronic illness--the good, the bad and everything in between.
Phylor explores her state of (in)dependence and shares with us all the ways chronic illlness makes her dependent on others. The she steps back and revels in the things that chronic illness cannot take away from her. You'll be inspired by her battle cry when you head over to Phylor’s Blog: chronic pain, life, and all that to read her post.
Over at Painy Days & Mondays, Summer explores her complex relationship with the cane she uses to ease her pain and exhaustion in Letting Go of Symbolism. This story beautifully illustrates how something that might be considered a symbol of infirmity actually became something that granted her more independence. Her second contribution, Suggestions on How to Get Out of the House, is a cornucopia of good ideas on how to prevent your chronic illness from keeping you housebound when you really, really, really want to get outside and do something fun.
Many of you will be able to relate to Kathy of FibroDAZE as she talks about her dream of being Miss Independent and her reality of needing to rely on her husband and his paycheck for food, shelter, a computer and spending money. She shares her genuine fears about what would happen to her if anything happened to her hubby.
A lack of Independence can really get you down. Many of us have been there like Laurie of Hibernationnow's Blog is now. Her chronic illnesses are preventing her from participating in her son's college orientation this summer and other fun summertime activities and she is really feeling crummy about it.
This next post from Mo is Blogging...I Think made me think of myths and fairy tales. You see, while chronic illness has made Mo a little short on her goal of Independence, her illness has spurred the growth of independence in her two sons and her husband. It's almost like what she gave up went directly to her sons...
Dana reminds us that chronic illness can have its ups and downs, ups and downs that can translate into alternating periods of dependence and independence. Right now things with her chronic illnesses are good and she is enjoying what she calls My New Found Independence! Help her celebrate by heading over to I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous! and don't forget to leave her a comment.
It's a real pleasure to introduce you to Emily Ruth of Chronically Creative, a first time Patients for Moment (PFAM) blog carnival participant. Emily is a young adult who is supposed to be transitioning towards independence. Instead, she is learning about Living a Self Sufficient life Despite Chronic Illness. Stop by, say hi and marvel at how her independent spirit shines through her words.
In this post from the ChronicBabe.com archives, Jenni answers the question "How does pain affect your independence?" in How asking for help has brought me closer to friends. This post is part of a group blogging roundtable discussion sponsored by the How to Cope With Pain blog, so you'll want to click this link to read how other top bloggers answered this same question too.
The Oh My Aches and Pains! contribution to this topic is my post What Ever Happened to Miss Independent? It seems that I'm not the only one asking this question; my husband would like to know where his "I can do it myself" wife went too. Which just goes to show you that the people around us are feeling the impact of our chronic illnesses too.
In addition to the contributions I received, I went searching for a few more bloggers to feature in this edition and found some real gems.
I love the author of Coping With Chronic Illness. She reminds me of a really good mom or therapist. Her post Independence Day is the most wonderful pep talk. Bookmark it for days when you are really missing your independence and need a gentle kick-in-the-pants to get over it and get on with the business of living.
Nuni's post about all the Things that help me maintain independence fit perfectly with our PFAM theme so I wanted to include it. She reminds us that sometimes it's the little things that can make a big impact on our sense of freedom as well as our health. Nuni writes about what it is like to be a college girl with chronic illness at Ponderings by Nuni.
I was touched by the frankness and honesty of Deandra's discussion of independence in her post Living with cancer: Evolving independence at Women's Magazine. Most of all, her message that every little thing we do to take care of ourselves is a small step in the direction of independence is one we all need to take to heart. Deandra lost her battle with ovarian cancer in July of 2010, but lives on in these words of wisdom she shares with us all.
Thank you to all the patient bloggers who submitted posts. Thanks to Leslie who does an outstanding job of managing the PFAM blog carnival and to the carnival founder Duncan Cross. Once again, I had a great time hosting (minus a few technical glitches on my end--sorry!) and promise to volunteer again soon.
Please mark your calendar for the next edition of PFAM, which takes place on July 20, 2011 at Tonja's blog Pink Doberman. If you'd like to participate, the submission deadline is July 17th. Visit the Patients for a Moment website for more information, including submission guidelines and information on how you can host PFAM on your blog too.