By: Fela M’tima




Oh, relationships. This was already a very tough subject for me 6 months ago, when I had lost many friendships due to being sick. Didn’t help that I am far away from my hometown of Chicago, so any friends I have here are friends I had only known for a few years prior to my diagnosis. But now, this subject is even harder, because I also lost a boyfriend of three years. At one point in my illness I believed he would be the one that stuck through the hardest of times and I was very wrong. I did learn through this that that is okay. I think that’s one of the biggest things you have to accept when you’re sick. That not everyone can handle it and that is not your fault, it is actually a fault on their part. So, you let them go, you keep your head up, you remember that there are people that can handle it, people that will fight even harder then you at times. You hold onto those people so damn tight and the ones you’ve lost, will slowly fade.

I’ll bring this back to the begining and no I’m not going to go into the play by play of my break up either. Back when I got sick, I lost a lot of friends. Mostly because a lot of them I only really saw when I’d go out and I just simply wasn’t going out. I spent many nights at home, while everyone was out, just wishing one of my friends would call or text saying anything like “Sending you love” “Hope you get well soon” Honestly, anything. When you’re chronically sick, it can be annoying to hear people say that they hope you get better, but when none of your friends are saying it to your face (or via text) you start to get pretty butt hurt.

I got used to it, though. My boyfriend at the time would tell me they ask about me, so that was just how it had to be though it felt insanely distant, to me. I felt like I was being the best “friend” that I could be under the circumstances. There were times though, that I felt like I wasn’t. I would think, “If you could just push yourself a little harder, they would appreciate it, just push yourself Fela.” And sometimes I did, but my first year being sick, I didn’t do it much. Being sick isolated me and made me not even want to go out. Fear of having a flare, fear of people bringing up me being sick when I just wanted to be the “Fela” people love and knew. These things put me in a box, well, realisticly, a bed.

My boyfriend at the time wasn’t good at helping me when I was sick, which I should of known from the two years we spent together when I wasn’t. As I said, some people step up and some don’t. I remember after my first surgery, my bestfriend had taken care of me the first week, but when I finally went home and my care taking was in my boyfriends hands he nearly lost it. Of course, it is stressful for a partner and I’m not saying that it should of been easy. One day he literally looked at me and said, “I just didn’t realize this would be a 24/7 job.” I remember sobbing relentlessly and not only because he was upset and said those words, but because it was the truth. I had become something someone had to “deal” with. As someone who has a caretaking personality, it really killed my spirit. I had taken care of this man for the past two years, and here I am, literally unable to walk to the bathroom on my own, and he looks at me like I’m a job.

Let’s just say this man didn’t last a whole year of me being sick. There were times that I was in the ER and he didn’t go with me. I would lay there getting rolled down to getting a sonogram (technically a sologram in this situation) so high on diluadid and sad that I was alone.


I spent so many early mornings in doctors offices *undressed from the waist down* contemplating why I had somone in my life who didn’t WANT to be here holding my hand. He survived two surgeries with me, the second my mom was there to take care of me. He ended up not going to the surgery because HE didn’t feel good. Now, I’m not saying he was a bad person, or boyfriend, just simply couldn’t handle it for more reasons then I’m going to go into.

The point is that we will have friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc, that won’t be able to handle it. If you let the fact that they can’t ruin your spirit, it will drag you down quicker then this devil of a disease. What is so beautiful is that more often then not, you have friends and loved ones who stick it out with you. They cherish the moments you feel good and they are right there next to you when you’re not. They don’t define you as your disease. And hey, friends and relationships come and go either way, chronic illness or not, we get stronger through our losses. We learn what we deserve and we move on.

The ones that stick might not always have the right things to say or do. Even though in our hormonal states we might get cranky or fussy, our hearts are so damn warm to know they are there. Just like the saying “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” Nothing is more true with chronic illness. Keep those that know how to love close and don’t be afraid to let people who don’t, go.