Looks can be deceiving and first impressions often stick firmly in our mind. I heard a story recently that epitomized how many people unfamiliar with serious illness, have a hard time recognizing and accepting the agony a person may be going through. I'm a good example of how deceiving looks can be, for when I have makeup on, my hair done and I'm dressed well with a smile on my face, you wouldn't in a million years be able to imagine that I'm in severe pain and what I go through on a daily basis.
The story I heard recently was about someone visiting a person who was dying. Upon arriving at the house, when they saw how well the person appeared, they commented on the fact he didn't look that bad and couldn't by dying, so would come back in a few weeks time when he looked much worse!!!! My mouth dropped open as I listened, and as awful as it this story sounds, unfortunately it's not uncommon.
Preconceived ideas of what a chronic patient should look like, or someone who hasn't got long to live are often very wrong. There are no set rules, everyone is individual, each disease has its own peculiarities, and one certainly can't wear a neon sign above one's head saying "I might look good to you, but trust me I'm suffering". What you see with your own eyes may be an individual who is bravely putting on a smile and hiding the appalling pain to lessen your distress, wanting to be remembered as a cheerful person, not a wretched creature convulsed in pain.
Connecting with fellow sufferers, quite a number have experienced some pretty weird side effects from medications. One particular side effect doesn't sound so bad; shopping! Yes that's right I said "shopping", but the problem is that one can become a shopaholic, which can ultimately put great strain on the family's finances. To read more about this issue, which may sound amusing, but should be taken seriously, take a look at my article in The Huffington Post.