Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: WHO Are You?

Navigating the Rough Waters of Illness

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

In the space of a few seconds, my life was changed irrevocably. Well, that’s what it felt like at the time. The truth is that I hadn’t been feeling well for quite some time, but I hadn’t done anything about it. When I finally went to the doctor, I was in for a nasty surprise.


As the doctor sat behind his desk talking, I switched off. I could feel the blood rushing to my head. My brain kept repeating two phrases I had heard him say: autoimmune disorder and incurable condition. Things were never going to be the same again. What was I going to do?

Here’s what I learned on my journey:

You find out who your friends are

After my diagnosis, I told my family, friends, and colleagues at work. I was still in shock and wondering how I would cope. Everyone was concerned and sympathetic to my situation. At first. As reality crept in and they saw how much I would need to rely on them, some of them slipped away. It was like watching rats leaving a sinking ship.

The people I thought would never let me down were suddenly unavailable when I needed help to get to a doctor’s appointment. Colleagues were too busy to help with picking up the slack when I was having a bad day. Fortunately, a lot of people have continued to stand by me.

Insurance companies like a good fight

I thought I had great health insurance. And it was great… until I got ill. The hospital and other medical bills were piling up, and the insurer was finding every excuse they could not to pay them. It seemed that the premiums I had paid were for nothing. I was so tired and sick that I couldn’t work up the energy to fight the insurer.

A family member found a list of the best Florida insurance lawyers. He phoned them on my behalf, and they assured him that they could help.

When my health insurers saw that I was taking the denial of benefits seriously enough to consult insurance lawyers, they backed down. Now I can focus on following my doctor’s treatment plan and getting well again without worrying about my finances.

Sometimes, all you need is a casserole

One of my neighbors realized that I was spending a lot more time at home. In the past, I would have labeled her as nosy, but now I’m so grateful she noticed. She came around one morning to see if everything was alright. I greeted her at the door in my dressing gown in floods of tears with my hair sticking up like a scarecrow. Obviously, things weren’t as they should be.

This kind soul invited herself inside, and after making me a cup of coffee, she offered to help me with some housework. I was so embarrassed, but I agreed anyway. Late that afternoon, she arrived at my house with a casserole big enough to feed an army. Since that day, she’s become one of my greatest allies.

It’s the little things that count

Before my illness, I lived my life on the run. I wasn’t taking care of myself, eating healthily, and getting enough sleep. I would tell myself that there would be time to worry about such things later. Well, later arrived sooner than I had anticipated.

Being ill and confined to my home, I learned a lot about myself. I discovered new hobbies and met new people I would otherwise never have encountered. I stop to smell the roses. And I draw each breath I am granted with the gratitude it deserves.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.