Finding Hope Again After Learning My Illness Is Chronic

Hope. I was hopeful until I asked my doctor, “Will I get any better than this?” She slowly shook her head. Then the hope went.

Hope is my lifeline that keeps me going. Hope is not the same as happiness nor is it the same as being positive. It lets me expect certain things to happen in my life. Hope is about possibility. After this conversation I became quite despondent; my hope of being well was dashed. I took quite some time to re-establish hope again in my life. I had to find a way to hope again.

Once I fully accepted that there would not be a cure and that it was a case of managing my illness as best I could, then I could start to hope. I could start thinking about possibilities again.

My illness led to us moving 1200 kilometers (about 746 miles) from our home of 45 years to a warmer climate. This meant leaving behind my three sons and 11 grandchildren – my home, my friends, the groups I belonged to. Everything I knew. I had hoped the move to the warmth would only be temporary and I could eventually return home.

But that hasn’t been able to happen. My hopes of that were dashed last year when we tried to return. I lasted 36 hours and then went by ambulance to the hospital. So that hope disappeared. I have now accepted that returning to my former home and family just isn’t possible if I want to stay as well as possible, and that is what I want my life to be like. I want to be as well as possible. And the amazing thing is that I can accept having to live so far away much better now that there really isn’t a choice!

The only way I can stay hopeful is to focus on what I can do, not on what I can no longer do. I have to think in terms of all that is possible. I have to look at the things I have gratitude for.

Rather than hoping the illness will go away, I am hoping I can still be as active as possible and enjoy as much as I can. I need to grasp every opportunity that comes my way. Enjoy every good day. I treasure re-finding hope.

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 Thinkstock photo via Ridofranz.

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