Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

 I'm going to post this a few days early because, this is me we're talking about, do you think I could remember to post it on Thanksgiving? 

I read an article a few weeks ago about quality of life issues involved with vasculitis and it is what originally got me thinking (along with a serendipitous comment on my Lonely Girl post by Sue Z) what I have to be thankful for. Sometimes it can be very hard for me to see what I have going for me and a reminder is needed to pull me out of a funk. Also, in light of my friend's recent passing I thought about how it is a good time to reflect on what I've got going for me in my life.

My Family: I am recently turned 25 and am completely dependent upon my parents at the moment. At the time of my diagnosis I was working and saving up to move out on my own. After diagnosis I could not live by myself, let alone afford it due to hospital, doctors, and medication costs. Now that I am not working and am being told that I need to stay out of work for at least a year I have become even more dependent upon them.

They are still trying to encourage me in my aspirations, even if I have been forced to change them drastically. They still talk with me about things I want to do one day, such as travel, that I know I might have to ask them to accompany me even if they don't particularly want to go. 

My family has always been supportive of me; my mom goes to most of my appointments with me, and if she can't be there my dad is. I also know that if neither of them can make it my grandfather would be there at the drop of a hat. Speaking of my grandparents, the day after I went to the ER and the day after I was released from the hospital from my recent surgery they welcomed me to stay at their house to make sure that I got my pain meds and to take care of me while my parents were at work. While this is kind of embarrassing, I know of many people whose grandparents would not be so willing to help them.

My siblings have really stepped up and supported me in their own ways as well. I know I end up venting a lot of my frustrations to my sister.

I think most importantly, my family has been willing to put up with the many side effects caused by my medications. They take it in stride when I burst into tears over the stupidest things, or when I forget what I am looking for or what I was speaking to them about, or even what words I am trying to think of when I am speaking to them. They were even willing to accommodate my new dietary needs. My chemo makes me very nauseated and I find it hard to eat red meat, my family is very carnivorous but they were willing to get me other things that I could eat and didn't make a big deal about when I needed to vomit.

There are many other, small things, that my family does for me, but it would take too long to list them all.

My Friends: I know that many people have lost friends because of their illnesses, and while I've had relationships change, many of my friends have treated me the same now as they ever have. Except for now putting up with certain rules I have to follow in regards to being ill and certain things I cannot do anymore. I've had to have some conversations with some, expressing concerns of mine, but this has not caused them to leave me completely.

I have also made many new friends through the VF whose knowledge I rely on and whose support make my journey easier to handle. I wish I had met them under different circumstances, but this was not meant to be. I just hope that I am as helpful to them as they are for me. I try, but I really don't have much experience living with something like this yet.

I am also thankful that I seem to be getting better health care than some. My rheumatologists are knowledgeable and are willing to listen to my concerns and take them into account. They want to do what would be best for me, even when I am being bull headed and just don't want to listen anymore. This situation happens a lot more than you probably think. 

I am also thankful that I am able to go outside and do still have some measure of independence. I've had to give up a lot, but not everything.

I am thankful that I was given a chance to discover what I really wanted to do with my life, and that Wegener's has given me a chance to figure out what sort of person I really am and what is important to me. 

I am thankful that I am healing, even if it doesn't seem like it some days.

Most importantly, I am thankful that I am still alive. I am here, able to type, read, listen to music, dance around, laugh and see people I love everyday. It wasn't so certain this time last year.

There's probably more that I am thankful for, but it would take far too long to work it all out. Some of what I am thankful for I cannot possibly describe here, even. If anything, this year has taught me that I don't know when I'm going to go, but when I get hit hard I always manage to bounce back. Take the time to stop and smell the roses; think about what you are thankful for, all the little good things that make up your life, list a few of them if you can. The world is so dark sometimes that you have to really focus on what you love about it so that you don't get bogged down in the dark. Just think, the dark makes the little bits of light seem to glow even brighter!

Also, Snoopy. I am thankful for Snoopy and Charlie Brown.

1 comment:

  1. Very sweet post and very cute picture.

    That is one interesting part about being severely ill: it gives you the time and chance to reflect on the important stuff. Just please don't pull a Nietzsche and spend 10 hours per day doing something you really shouldn't be doing with your health ;)

    I'm glad that you still have doctors that are working really hard with you. You know what my job is and I can promise you that there are a lot of doctors who will not be as helpful as yours are. It makes me very glad to hear that you are in good hands.

    Remember, sometimes its the little things that you do that mean the most to people. I ended up having to take an early break to keep one coworker from exploding in anger and nearly made another one cry because we brought her back some smelly markers. Even showing that you care means a ton for people. Remember that if you start feeling like you don't do enough for others. You are an inspiration and a joy to have as a friend.