Being diagnosed with a chronic illness—a long-term condition that in most cases has no cure—can turn a person’s entire world in side out. Someone who just found out they have a chronic illness is often simultaneously grappling with symptoms, starting treatment, implementing lifestyle changes, and coping with the enormous emotional impact of their new reality. Endless learning of medications that sometimes causes you to become sick etc.
If you have a friend who was recently diagnosed with a chronic condition (or would like to better support a friend already managing one), you may not know what to say or do, and that's ok. You might even be wondering if there’s anything you can say or do that will really help. The good news is that there absolutely is: Being a supportive presence in your friend’s life can actually influence how well they can manage their illness both mentally, prayerfully and physically.
Social and prayer support plays a critical role in coping with any illness. People who have strong social and prayer support networks tend to do better long-term. So continue your writing and stay close to each other, especially in times of feeling sad and lonely.
Peace and all good,
Brother Ed Arambasich, OFM