Looks Can Be Deceiving (post #6 in my 30 in 30 series)

don't look sick

When I saw this quote, it instantly struck a chord with me.  I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “but you don’t look sick”, or some variation of that phrase.  It’s meant to be a compliment, I know, but it usually feels like something else.  Normally, I respond with a polite thank you, but in my head I’m thinking, “if you only knew how crappy I feel right now…”

I have Lupus, which has few outward signs to indicate that I have a serious, chronic illness.  I have the tell-tale butterfly rash ( also known as a Malar rash ) on my face sometimes, but it’s often mistaken for rosy cheeks ( a sign of health and vitality – how ironic!)  Otherwise, I have chronic pain and fatigue, which aren’t always so obvious.  I’m also a breast cancer survivor – I have no outward signs of that either. My scars are hidden.  Usually, the only way people know about my health issues is if I choose to tell them.  So, to most people, I probably look OK.  But, like the quote above says, if you were to turn me inside out, you’d see a whole different me.  So, I searched the web to find some suggestions on what people could say instead of “but you don’t look sick” and here a few good ones I found (and wouldn’t mind hearing myself):

“You look so good, but how are you really feeling?”

“It must be hard to be sick and in pain all the time,” or “It must be frustrating to have to limit your activities so much.”

“Don’t feel bad if you have to cancel our plans at the last minute. I’ll understand.”

“I hope you’re as well as possible.”

“What do you wish people understood about your illness?”

“It’s Ok not to be OK all the time”

and, finally…

“I know you’re not feeling well, so I’m coming over to clean your house, give you a massage, cook dinner, and give you a million dollars” – hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?



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