The mask of an IC warrior…

I found this painting online a few years ago and fell in love with it. Although I am unsure of what the artist is trying to portray… it really speaks to me. When I look at this photo I see a woman who wears a mask. A mask of strength, hope, faith, bravery, but above all… COURAGE! To me, this is the face of each person living with Interstitial Cystitis (IC). But what is courage? Honestly, I never really put much thought into the word “courage” and what it truly means to me until I met an IC warrior, my BEST FRIEND…

Courage comes with the “doing again” what was hard the first time. Courage is asking your husband, wife, partner to sit with you while you throw-up because your pain is simply unbearable. Courage is crying for someone to hold you in their arms while you weep in exhaustion. Courage is asking for help when that’s the last thing you want to do. Courage is getting out of the bed each day no matter how exhausted you are from barely sleeping the night before. Courage is smiling when all you want to do is cry. Courage is sharing your story. It takes courage to be vulnerable, loveable, and move ahead in the face of trials, both physical and emotional. Courage is putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, one moment at a time. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to move beyond that fear. Honestly, I could go on for hours trying to describe what she has taught me about the word courage. With all that she continues to teach me, I have come to a great realization… EACH OF YOU are survivors. EACH OF YOU are stronger than you know. EACH OF YOU are true heroes. EACH OF YOU are warriors. But more than anything… EACH OF YOU are the true face of courage!

When someone doesn’t suffer with an invisible chronic illness, it’s near impossible for us to truly understand or comprehend the pain, struggle, and suffering each of you go through every single day. But that does not mean I will not try. I will continue to research until I take my last breath. I will continue to hold out hope that one day, some way, some how; they WILL find a cure. I will continue to fight so that IC is not seen as a death sentence for those I have come to love that live with this EVIL disease… and above all, I will continue to believe in you, encourage you, be there for you, be strong for you, and unconditionally love you!

Love and prayers to all of you,
Natasha Childress

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Nice article!

Jennifer Cooke
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Jennifer Cooke

Thank you Natasha Childress, for being all that you are! You are such a blessing to me and now the world gets to hear your beautiful voice! Love You Always!