Sick But Social: The Text of Shame

November 23, 2015


by Stacey Philpot

It’s your best friend’s birthday. You bought tickets to the show she’s been wanting to see for the last year and promised that you would go no matter how sick you got in the hours leading up to your departure. Leaning into those words, your dear friend has skipped both the 24-hour and 4 hour check-in texts.

She’s oblivious to the raging infection your body is currently nurturing as well as your guilty, conflicted and panic-ridden state. ER or show, you ask yourself repeatedly, lying across your bed in a towel. You realize that either would actually require clothing but you just aren’t sure that your body can muster the energy needed to walk the three feet to the closet. So how will you go to the show? You won’t. It’s the answer you’ve been trying not to know for longer than you care to admit. And so it is now time to construct the text of shame, you will not be going to the show, but to the ER. You are sorry for disappointing her, again. Your body is a jerk, clearly.

My name is Stacey Philpot. Maybe like me, you feel your body is a jerk sometimes, or you dearly love someone with whom you’ve come to know that the 24-hour check in text is a must. It is for you I’ll be writing over these next few months. For many years, I didn’t have a name for the thief who stole so many meaningful moments from me. But one sunny day in Michigan the thief of CVID (Common Variable Immunodeficiency Disorder) was finally unmasked. Like many of you, I had all the normal feelings of relief and shame, fear and isolation. I began my circus training—like we all do—learning to balance killing the germs versus nurturing relationships, resting versus living life to the fullest, knowing my limits versus doing the things that matter anyway. It is my hope that we can journey on together and learn from one another how to steward our bodies and relationships well.

At 36, my life looks nothing like I thought it would. My body clearly wears the pants in this relationship. Daily I find myself asking, “How do I make the most of the moments, of the relationships that I have?” Together, I hope that we can learn to shake off the sick guilt that so often encumbers us and instead honor our bodies, while educating those around us by celebrating this life and the relationships we’ve been given. That should be easy enough, right?

I am a wife, mom, step mom, writer, goofball and an avid reader, currently living in Clermont, Florida (it’s so hot!). You can find my blogs at Chronicallywhole was launched this year with the hope of reminding others that while our bodies might be broken we are whole. I am currently writing a book about my life with CVID, LYME and RA. I am a contributing writer at You can connect with me on Facebook  here and on Twitter (@ChronicallyW).

I’m also a teacher at heart, meaning I spent many years in the classroom shaping budding geniuses and fragile hearts. I truly live to learn and share what I’m learning along the way. I graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelors in Psychology and intend to start a Masters soon. Oh, and I have a strange affinity for eating whole meals in my bed (don’t tell anyone).

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