The Spoon Theory

Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino

This is one of the most read, shared, and loved stories on the internet dealing with disability I would venture to say. I remember the first time I read it many years ago. I loved it then and still do. It doesn’t matter what age you are, I think you can relate to the story and I believe your friends and family will be able to as well.Christine Miserandino did a fabulous job writing this. It is obvious when you read it that she did it from the heart. Her website, “But You Don’t Look Sick, even has the slogan that most people in chronic pain hear fifty times a year and when they hear it they don’t know whether to say “Thank you” and smile, or groan, or cry.

In the Spoon Theory Christine is asked by her friend what it feels like to be her, to be sick. Christine comes up with a wonderfully inventive way to have her friend assume her identity, to BE Christine, for a few minutes. She enables her friend to actually experience life as Christine and to understand what life as a chronic pain patient is like with its’ choices and trade-offs. It is a method that you could actually share with your own friends and I think that is what resonates so much with everyone who reads it. It doesn’t matter whether you have Fibromyalgia, CRPS, MS, Neuropathy, or any other type of chronic illness.

I will include here just the beginning of the Spoon Theory. You need to go to Christine’s website to read the rest and after you do I urge you to bounce around her website and check out more of it. You can even contact Christine and let her know what you thought of it! There is a lot to see and it is a great way to spend a few hours. Be sure to bookmark it as you will want to come back.You can also forward her Spoon Theory story to your friends and family, it comes on posters, cups, can be translated into spanish, french, hebrew, … well, you get the picture. it is everywhere and growing!

Keith OrsiniAmerican RSDHope 

THE SPOON THEORY By Christine Miserandino

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try. –