Why I Don't Consider My Fibromyalgia to Be a Stroke of 'Bad Luck'

My last post garnered such an overwhelming response it made my head spin – in a good way! (Check it out here.) I’m sure some of you thought, Boy, I wouldn’t wish this illness on anyone, or that getting this illness is some serious bad luck – but there’s more to that story.

I must admit, for years I wondered why the powers that be chose for me to have fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome and Sjögren’s syndrome. The feelings of isolation, pain and being removed from the world and the constant testing of new treatments was overwhelming and exhausting. It was impossible not to think, “Why me?” when things got really bad – when my hands were too stiff to hold a spoon or I couldn’t get up a flight of stairs.

Fast forward nine years and, truth be told, my illnesses have actually had a lot of benefits for me, my family and my life in general.

Here are four reasons why I don’t think getting fibro was “bad luck” for me:

1. Closer relationships. I’m closer now than ever to my husband and family. When we all spend time together, it is truly quality time. Because of my condition, if I’m going to enjoy company after a long day at work, we’re going to be doing something relaxing and easy. My husband and I spend most weekends laying low at home together and I love every minute.

2. I’m a stronger employee. I go like a machine during the day. During my mandated restful weeknights and weekends I spend extra time on my work. This allows me to be available to my team, catch up on the day’s tasks and read up on the latest ideas and fresh perspectives in my field. This makes me a better leader. I don’t know that I would be where I am in my career if it wasn’t for the mandatory rest required after work.

3. I’m a healthier person. Because of my fibro, a few things aren’t up for debate. I make sure I get enough sleep, eat well and have regularly scheduled doctor appointments for prevention and maintenance. I have talked about being 90 percent vegan in a few of my previous posts and will say it again now – clean eating is a necessity with my illnesses. Sugar, caffeine, too many carbs and processed food send my body into a downward spiral and it can take a lot to get back on track.

4. I’m a patient advocate. This has been my biggest reward by far. Helping others is the best gift anyone could ask for. And let’s call a spade a spade: the chronic illness community is amazing! I strive to be the best voice I can for those of you struggling in silence and I’m honored to continue to do so.

Maybe the luck of the Irish is on my side after all… I see a pot of gold at the end of my rainbow.

What good things has your condition brought your way? Maybe you have a therapy pet or you’ve made friendships through the chronic pain community? What do you use your extra downtime for? Let us know in the comments below!

“May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright, happy hours that stay with you all the year long.” –Anonymous

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

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