Being chronically ill can make it difficult to make and maintain friends. With being in and out of the hospital, limited time and energy, and a very unusual life, I have always wondered how me being sick affects how my friends interact with me. I recently asked my sorority big sister and best friend, Jacie, to describe what it is like being so close to someone so sick and her answers were both heartfelt and inspiring!
“Just like one’s gender or age, your disease is… a part of your identity”-Jacie
“It makes us closer…because we are so open about bathroom talk [that] it tends to flow into everything else.” -Jacie
I asked Jacie if our relationship is different from other relationships and she was very clear that my illness has made us closer.
“There are very few things we don’t talk about. It’s not only the vulnerability that strengthens our friendship but we do our best to spend time together.”
Jacie talked about the importance of spending time together and how the time we do spend together is special, because it took effort to make it happen.
“I think I cherish the time I do get with you especially when you are happy and healthy because it doesn’t happen a lot.”- Jacie
I then asked Jacie if she views me differently because of my disease. She responded that my disease has made me even more “precious” to her, comparing me to a “glass figurine” or the “soft spot on a babies head.”
“I know you are a strong, intelligent, and very capable young woman but your health can be scary for those closest to you because we have no control over it.”-Jacie
“The most important thing to mention is not just that you are vulnerable with me and precious to me but that you inspire me.”-Jacie
In her final remarks about our friendship, Jacie sums up what it is like to be friends with someone so sick in a beautiful way!
“Like I said before I think we are closer because of your Crohns. You’re my best friend and the little sister I never had … Every day is an uphill battle but yet you strive for your dreams and have accomplished so much. It makes me realize how much I should appreciate my own health and that I too can strive for my dreams.” -Jacie