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Affects of Illness PDF Print E-mail
Written by Allen Lawrence, M.D.   
Illness affects not only the person involved, and who is sick, but often his or her entire family, their friends, co-workers, neighbors and a host of others the ill person may not even know or think about. It is easy to see that illness is a world wide industry. The medical and alternative medical professions, hospitals, drug companies, pharmacies, medical supply companies, disability departments, attorneys. legislators, clerks, statisticians in government and insurance companies are all involved in one way or another with helping, serving, supporting or keeping tract of people who are ill or find themselves with disabling or life-threatening illnesses.

While the ill person is at the center of this circle his or her life, and the lives of those people who are intimately involved with them, may suffer or be positively or negatively affected by them. In some cases some of these people may unfortunately even suffer more than the person who is actually sick. The husband who has a heart attack may no longer be able to be the breadwinner for the family. His injury or disability may leave him unable to work, his death might in some ways appear more merciful as he no longer needs to followed by doctors, take medication, require surgery or be left somewhat helpless unable to function as he once did. His wife and family may end up taking on the burdon of doing what he is now unable to do. The woman with breast cancer will also personally be in hell for a long while. She will likely require a biopsy, possible mastectomy, removal of one or both breasts, node dissection, and disfigurement. She may lose time from her job and her illness is likely to upset her entire family, throw it out of rhythm and create fear in her daughters, sisters and many of the other women in her life. The mother who has had a stoke may leave the role of her care and support to her daughter and her family.

Besides the personal pain, anguish, fear and threat, the illness is likely to cause to the affected person, the illness or injury also affects others in many different ways. They may wonder if this could happen to them, if they have a cancer growing somewhere in their body, if they could develop a similar illness. The illness may cause pain and suffering for their friend and fear for themselves.

Children will worry, unknowing of what is going on with their mother or father, but recognizing something is different and that it is not good. Often the sick parent cannot talk about what is happening to them and the other “well” parent may “not know what or how to tell the children.” The children know something is wrong, but they often feel left out. If the parent does talk to them, if they are too young, illness may become too scary and unreal to understand. If the children are older their fears for their parent and “what will happen to them (the children)” may overwhelm them or get in their way of living a normal healthy life.

Family vacations may well have to be cancelled. Trips to doctors offices, hospitals, surgery or chemotherapy may replace them. Finances may become strained, tension may build to a breaking point and fear may be the pervading emotion where laughter and love once flourished.

Life changes and often no one knows how to put the genie back in the bottle. Things are not as the used to be, nor how they were planned to be, nor even how they could have been. Life is different for everyone.

While at first glance this may all sound quite negative, it does not have to be. If not looked at in a positive way, it may end up not only being negative, but destructive. How many of us have friends who tell stories of growing up without a mother or father because some serious illness took their life. How many of these people are either scarred or bruised by the series of events that started with finding the illness and never ended even after the death of their loved one. The crying, the tears, the anger, hostility, the fear, the depression, the emptiness and the rage that still inhabits them even years or generations after their loved one was taken from them.

Yet, there are other stories. Stories with much happier endings. Stories where the dream was not a nightmare but rather a journey into learning, exploration and conquest. In this web site finding these stories and the process, formula or path to creating them to be positive and instructive is our goal. Join with us in exploring healing and how it occurs, and what you can do to facilitate it when needed.