I Need to Stop Comparing My Life With Illness to My Life Before Illness

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I stumbled across this saying when looking at a quilting video clip. And I reckon it applies to me and my chronic illness. I need to stop comparing what I have and can do now with what I had and could do before chronic illness came into my life!

This was a real revelation. This morning I found myself in tears as my asthma, which is always present, revved up. I take four different puffers and one tablet twice a day to try to manage my asthma. I guess the “control” that asthmatics try to reach just doesn’t happen for me, ever.


My asthma has been quite good since April 30. My treatment was changed and I had just finished nine days of a fairly large dose of Prednisone. This time period, since April 30, is the longest break from the painful breathing, tightness and constant coughing I have ever had. And I was really enjoying myself.

I was able to increase my exercise, I wasn’t falling asleep every afternoon from being so tired, I had energy and I wasn’t hyped up from taking so much Ventolin. It felt so good.

Now I am sitting in my recliner with the heater and dehumidifier running. It is winter in Australia and it was very cold this morning. I am pondering the day ahead of me. I know I will have to be careful. I know I will end up falling asleep this afternoon and will be hyped up too much to sleep tonight.

Then I read “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It affected me like a lightbulb moment. The tears this morning were there because I didn’t want to have an asthma flare-up and I was thinking about my life prior to asthma vs. my life with asthma. I didn’t want the tight, hurting chest back. And, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

If I keep comparing what was with what is, I will lose the joy that could be here today. The sun is shining! I have enough financial security so I can turn the heater on whenever I need to and get medical help whenever it’s necessary. I have many precious friends and a loving, caring husband. I have good relationships with my three sons, my foster daughter and all of my grandchildren. We have come through some extremely tough times. There is is lots of love in my life.

So, decision time. I must stop comparing. I must stop looking back. Imagine if this illness had happened to me 40 years ago! I wouldn’t have the treatment options I have today. I am going to choose to not compare and to look for the joy that is all around me. I have to make a choice to do this.

I think I will even start making lists of each day’s joys.

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Thinkstock photo via Olarty.

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