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Growing beyond the illness

Another word of caution to patients has to do with patient's dependence on others. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help with things that a person can no longer do and the amount of help needed will depend on the severity of the patient's condition.

On the other hand, relying on others too much may impose more limits and restrictions on the patient. Sefra Kobrin Pitzele, now deceased, wrote about dependence in her first book, We Are Not Alone: Learning to Live with Chronic Illness (Workman Publishing Company; 1st edition (January 9, 1986)), "If we allow it [dependence] to happen, we can let our spouse and children and parents and friends put us into a very small box in their minds and hearts—the box they reserve for pity. Sooner or later, we all want more love and respect than that. To get it, we must grow beyond our illness and relearn how to live with risks, anger, discomfort, challenges and everything else in life."

Ms. Pitzele used her own experiences (as a person living with lupus) to teach others with chronic illness how they could redesign their lives, so they could live them better. She encouraged patients to take pride in things they could still do and discouraged them from making excuses, getting angry or feeling apologetic about things they could no longer do.