5 Things My Illnesses Have Taught Me

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  1. Appreciate the Small Things

    Those days where it takes all of my energy just to crawl out of bed. Those days when the pain is forefront in my mind and I know it’s going to be hard to get through the day, I try to keep focus and stay positive by tallying all of the positives in my life. Some days it gets down to the bare essentials, and the smallest things I have to be thankful for to keep me going, but it works for me, and it helps me stay centered and moving forward.

  2. Empathy and Deeper Understanding

    Since I was 11, I have suffered from Migraines. I’ve known Chronic Pain from them since I was 15, when they started being a more chronic issue for me. As the years have progressed, and now with the diagnoses of Lupus and APS and the complications I experience with these conditions, I have a deeper understanding of a wide array of ailments that people are faced with. I also Empathize with those that suffer from various chronic conditions. Likewise, when some comes to me with an acute pain, or ailment and tells me how it is impacting their life, I empathize because sometimes the acute pains in life can hurt much worse than the pains you deal with on an ongoing basis and have adjusted to deal with them. I have a whole new appreciation for the pain scale, and people’s own experience with it due to my experiences.

  3. The Power of Laughter

    I have had some pretty serious moments where the moment came that it was either laugh through it or break down and cry. I thoroughly appreciate being surrounded by friends, loved ones, and even a medical team that understands my sense of humor (and me) enough to know that when things get super serious, I need to be able to joke my way through it. A wise man once told me, if you can laugh your way through it, you’ll survive. It got him through 2 battles with Leukemia before the 3rd one took him from us. He laughed his way through it all. He is one of my heroes.

  4. Support Comes in Various Forms

    I have been fortunate with the various forms of support since I got sick. I have loved ones that are by my side and help me cope and fight each day. I have an amazing doctor and healthcare team that do their part to support and keep me going. Sometimes they even go out of their way a little and support me by listening that extra bit of time. My therapist that I see every two weeks has done wonders for that part of my care and support. She has also taught me various tools to help me cope. I have also found amazing support through online support groups specific to my conditions via Facebook, I have made a few wonderful friendships this way, and it has just helped having people going through similar things to talk to on occasion. That has helped me feel not so isolated.

  5. How to Survive

    Sometimes we don’t realize what we can truly endure and survive, until we come out the other side of it a survivor. I look back over the first part of my journey with my illnesses and the things I experience and at times I still break down. In the beginning when I would cry it was because I thought I was not strong enough to get through the things I was facing. Now I realize I was breaking down because I was trying to be strong at the wrong moments, and not allowing myself the chance to process, and heal. There are moments in facing life you have to stay strong, there are moments when you have to break down and let it out. Ultimately though, life shows you how to survive what you are dealt. It is up to you to figure out the rest. 

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