Children and Chronic Illness

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I am still trying to find effective ways to conduct an outreach to adults in chronic pain. I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to children and chronic illness. Perhaps this is the best way to begin…to acknowledge the children and their families who daily wrestle with their child’s health.

It is my hope one day to have an entire wing of the Broken and Mended ministry to offer support to the families in this predicament. When everyone else is posting pictures of their child’s latest accomplishment, these parents are reporting on their child’s latest hospital visit. We could all do with a little more awareness and sympathy for those who are in this struggle.

My oldest son was born with acid reflux. What is an aggravating annoyance for adults can be a full-blown horror for a baby. Our son cried at the top of his lungs for 8-10 hours every day. I know the hours because our pediatrician had us keep a log on how much our infant was crying.

I would come home from work and my wife would drop off my screaming son in my arms and retreat to some place in the house where she could finally cry. It was AWFUL!

He grew out of it by the time he was six months old. His overall health was never in jeopardy, and yet I can tell you that those are still probably the most difficult days of our now 17 year-old marriage not to mention our 15 year-old son’s life. I am glad he has no memory of it.

I share that story not because it somehow makes me think I can relate to those of you who have a child with a serious chronic illness. I share it to demonstrate that I can’t even imagine what you are going through. If it was that hard to go through that with our infant son for a few months, how much harder is it for those of you whose child will carry their illness through every phase of their childhood?

I want you to know that I care. I want you to know that I know you are going through a very special battle. Those of us who live with pain as an adult would gladly take it over the prospect of our children suffering. In fact, one of the scary things about my disease is how genetically based it is. It doesn’t mean my children will get ankylosing spondylitis, but they definitely have a greater chance of doing so.

You would trade places with your child if you could. As it is, you have to watch them suffer, and then you suffer as only a parent can. The suffering of children is one of the hardest realities to square with our faith in God. I certainly don’t have all the answers as to why children suffer, or more personally, why your child suffers, but I do know that God cares and loves your child even more than you do.

If anything, my hope is that this post reminds you that are not alone. One day we may be able to have Broken and Mended support groups for people just like you and your family. Until that day, please know that we care!

About David Heflin

I blog about topics related to the Christian faith and the struggle of chronic pain. I have ankylosing spondylitis and have dealt with chronic pain since 2011. I hope to provide support and community for those going along that same journey with me.
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