In my autoimmune life and blog, I often complain about all of the inconveniences of being chronically ill, but today I want to look at it from a different perspective. Prior to being diagnosed as autoimmune, I lived a very different life. I was healthy and active on one hand, but on the other I was miserable. I was forcing myself to diet and exercise like a madwoman. I pushed my body past limitations I had never before imagined. On the outside I looked like I had the perfect life, but in truth – I was miserable. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually miserable.
Once I was diagnosed, I was forced to take a moment and process the huge possibility of a short life. Of course there is no guarantee that I’ll die young, but the possibility had to be dealt with and processed. The possibility of having a limited number of years with my family has made it so much more important to spend time with them and talk as often as possible with the ones that don’t live near me. My illness has brought me so much closer with my husband, too. All of our previous arguments and disagreements seem so trivial compared to saying good-bye to the love of your life far too soon. Just the possibility will make you sick to your stomach.
Working a job that didn’t pay enough and stressed me out was one of the first things to go. Suddenly it seemed less important to make myself sick and in more pain, just to make a few dollars. With my husband working and willing to support, I chose to enjoy my time with my kids instead of missing it all trying to prove a point. When I’m gone my kids aren’t going to remember how hard I worked, but they will remember all of the memories that we have made together. I spend a lot of time cooking and baking with them these days, making precious memories instead of dieting incessantly.
I have learned to make my health a priority and that was honestly one of the hardest lessons this year so far. I am way too good at neglecting my own needs, in order to take care of everyone else around me. This year I finally learned that I can’t take care of anybody else if I’m not taking care of myself first. I’m not usually the person to say no to others, but when it affects my health I have learned to advocate for myself.
Each of us has a choice. We can wallow in our sorrow, and the life of chronic illness definitely causes its fair share of grief and pain, but we have this choice. The choice to hate every aspect of this life and fight it with every breath you take, or you can see the positive and choose to live in every single moment that you are blessed with. I know how corny that seems, and I’m not usually the one to give the positivity advice, but in this case it has personally worked for me, and this is the choice I choose every day.
Keep your heads up, my fellow spoonies and loved ones! Love and light always!