Help Yourself

So, you are a kid with a chronic illness. I wonder how you feel about that? Sometimes kids feel angry, sad or upset that they have an illness that makes life so different. Other kids tell us that they just get used to the illness. They realize that having an illness does not change who you really are. Here are some suggestions to help yourself deal with your chronic illness.

  1. Draw a picture of your illness
    Little boyYou might have lupus, arthritis, cancer, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, sickle cell anemia or some other chronic illness. Close your eyes and try to picture what your illness would look like if it were a thing. Now, draw a picture of that. Use the colors that you see when you picture your illness.

    I would like to see what you imagine your illness to be. Please send your picture to:
    Kathy Davis, MSEd, PhD
    KUMC
    3901 Rainbow Blvd. MS4003
    Kansas City, KS  66160

    We just might put your picture on the website, so don't forget to include your name and your age.

  2. Make a list of all of the things that make you
    who you are

    Little girl. See how long the list becomes when you start listing all the many things that make you YOU!
    • all of the things you like to do
    • the things you do well
    • the things you want to do
    • describe your eyes, hair, and smile
    • things about you that make you proud
    • even the things that you would like to change
    • anything and everything that you can think of

    Now, look at your list. Where in all of that is your diagnosis? I bet it was not at the top of the list. It might not be on the list at all. You are much more than a diagnosis or a label. Your illness is only a tiny part of who you are.

  3. Teach others
    School blocks. Maybe you have had a chronic illness for a long time, or maybe you have only recently learned that you have a chronic illness. Either way, you are learning a lot of new stuff about living with a chronic illness, how to take care of yourself and how to teach others about your illness. How could you help other kids who face the same difficulties?

    1. Write a story
      Write a story about your experience with a chronic illness. Include details about your illness, your treatments, staying in the hospital and how your friends and family helped you. Basically, include anything that you think might help another kid going through a similar experience.

      Send me your story via email and include your name and age. If your story could help someone else, we will publish it on the web site.

      We are looking forward you reading your stories!

    2. Make a list of things that help
      Young doctors.When you go back to school with a chronic illness, everyone is happy to see you and eager to help you out. Some of that help is great, but some may be more than you wanted. Make a list of the things that kids, teachers, friends and family did for you that were particularly helpful.

      Then, make a list of the things that you wish they had NOT done.

      Please send me the lists. We will use them to help others understand how to be helpful without smothering you with help. You will be teaching many people how to be a good friend.

      We will not use your name, so you will not be embarassed.