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The Moment I Realized I'm Grateful for My Rare Disease

Today while¬†walking alone, I surprised myself.¬†Deep in thought, I suddenly said¬†aloud,¬†‚ÄúThank you.‚ÄĚ

It was in this moment I realized I’m grateful for my disease.

In a way, it’s¬†become a mentor (it commands respect) and an instructor (it encourages patience). Lessons are delivered daily, and the more I listen, the more I learn. While the time has been relatively short since my¬†diagnosis,¬†these are the lessons I’ve learned so far:

 1. This is not without purpose. Deep in the depths of disease lies a purpose much larger than me.

2. Have patience. I believe “divine timing‚ÄĚ is at work.

3. Be vulnerable. Share. Be openhearted and prepare for unexpected connections with others.

4. Be present. Disease shifts on a dime. Spending energy and worry on what could happen distracts from the joy in what is happening.

5. Gratitude heals.¬†Being aware of what blessings I’ve received helps me recognize¬†more¬†when they arrive.

6. I am stronger than I think. How I respond is more important than the problem at hand.

7. Watch and listen.¬†Lessons are¬†delivered in a many¬†forms. I’ll be taught, as long as I stay open to learning.

8. Practice compassion. Others around me have unknown struggles as well. I try to approach them with an empathetic heart.

9. Take the help.¬†Say yes when someone offers¬†to help. It’s not considered weak to accept generosity.

10. Self-care matters. My body is a perfect, magnificently designed gift.

11. Use tools. Walking and writing are powerful methods of therapy.

12. Do better.¬†‚ÄúDo the best you can until you know better, then when you know better, do better.‚ÄĚ — Maya Angelou.

This is what I’ve learned so far, but I’m confident I’ll be shown more along the way. What are some of your best lessons learned?

Here’s to healing,


A version of this post originally appeared on Molly LaFata.

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