10 Things I Didn't Appreciate Until I Became Chronically Ill

There are many things in life we grumble about and consider as chores or annoyances. I would say that the blessing and scourge of the 21st century is convenience — fast food and deliveries, speedy transport, immediate online purchases, etc. I think it has never been easier to obtain our material end goals.

With the increased ease in lifestyle, I feel we often forget that it can also be a blessing to labor. I am sure many people work very hard in their various careers and I am not discounting those efforts one bit, but the kind of work I would like to speak about today is around a manual theme.

Here are some abilities I possess but never stopped to consider or appreciate, until they were taken away from me due to my illnesses.

I am grateful I can…

1. Choose to walk up a flight of stairs, because it means my joints are able to bend and are not aching with too much pain today.

2. Work overtime even if it’s not a happy thing to do, because it means my body is strong enough to handle the extra stress and fatigue levels, and that I am sitting at a work desk instead of lying in a hospital bed.

3. Cry when I’m in pain or filled with sadness, because it means my tear ducts have not dried out from the effects of Sjögren’s syndrome, where I lose my ability to produce any tears. “Dry crying” does not bring me relief, it only doubles the misery.

4. Complain of boredom, because it means I am not in a state of pain or discomfort.

5. Make my own dinner after a long day, because it means I still have a drop of energy left to feed myself something better than a crappy just-fill-me-up bite for dinner, which does even more harm to my body.

6. Eat, because it means I am not feeling nauseous to the point where the sight or thought of food induces vomiting. And also for the fact that I am not being denied food for several days while stuck in a hospital bed.

7. Suffer the pain of regular period cramps, because it means my female body clock is still working despite the interference of medications and surgeries.

8. Do household chores or exercise until it aches, because it means the pain in my joints and muscles are well behaved today and my fatigue levels are at bay. It is a treat to be able to swap a bad ache for a good one!

9. Fall asleep at night without the aid of anti-anxiety tablets or steroids, because it means the psychological or inflammatory pains that rise with nature’s evening schedule have not steered out of control.

10. Smile, not because of anything I have done, but from the acts of kindness and generosity my loved ones have showered me with, and because there is something beautiful left in the world, always.

The Mighty is asking the following: Create a list-style story of your choice in regards to disability, disease or illness. It can be lighthearted and funny or more serious — whatever inspires you. Be sure to include at least one intro paragraph for your list. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Sjögren's Syndrome

5 Words My Doctor Said That Changed My Outlook on My Chronic Illness

There are a lot of autoimmune diseases out there, some well-known (like lupus, thanks to “House”) and others that aren’t well-known. Despite Sjogren’s syndrome being the third most common autoimmune disease (behind lupus, according to the Rare Genomics Institute), it’s not a disease many people have knowledge of and, in my experience, not many of my doctors even know what [...]

To the Director Whose Comment About ‘People Like Me’ Saved My Life

Six years ago, you changed my life. You didn’t know it then, but you simultaneously crushed my dreams, broke an immense part of my core and unknowingly cracked open the door to my ideal life. That fateful day we met to discuss and plan the upcoming semester courses. We started a conversation about why I [...]

This Businessman With Down Syndrome Is Making History in His Town

Blake Pyron is making history in his small town of Sanger, Texas. At just 19 years old, he is the youngest person in the town to run his own business. // Posted by Blake’s Snow Shack on Tuesday, December 15, 2015   Pyron, who has Down syndrome, is the president of “Blake’s Snow Shack,” a snow [...]

A Day in My Life With Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

I, like many others, had never heard of reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome (RSD/CRPS) until it actually happened to me. After the third doctor I went to said that is more than likely what I had, I remember Googling it on the ride home. After many tests and even more treatments, I was diagnosed with this mysterious disease, [...]