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Why I'm Happy Even Though I'm Sick

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Yes, I’m sick – so why be happy? Good question. And I think I have an answer. I’ve been ill for years, starting way back when I was a little kid. Anxiety and depression kept me from a lot of things, and I felt ill a lot…achiness, sore throats, excessive tiredness…that kind of thing. But somehow I muddled my way through all the way to age 36 when I became mysteriously and severely ill and had to have a transplant! I have no idea how, but I was fortunate enough to get one (that doesn’t always happen, sadly). But I was lucky, so after my liver transplant I figured that was it. I had always felt sick, then I had my big scare, so now I’m all done with bad news. Still, I had sick days, but I was happy. I was alive, after all!

But it wasn’t the end of bad news.

After a couple of serious bleeding incidents I ended up with chronic kidney disease. I was not happy. But eventually it sunk in, I accepted it and carried on. Now, at 50, CKD thinks it’s going to take me down because I’m going to have to start dialysis. But that’s not gonna happen.


Yes, I’m extremely upset. Yes, I’ve cried. A lot. But believe it or not, I’m still happy. Why? Well, why not?

Not as easy as it sounds though, right? And to be perfectly honest, I do have days where I’m not happy and feel trapped in a messed up body. It sort of feels like an encasement all around my body that no one can see. There’s a whole person in here dying to get out. I’m only human. I try not to let my brain go there too often but when it does I just cry it out. Crying is OK. It’s such a good release. And then it’s over.

I don’t enjoy being sick. I feel like I have lost so much time and it angers me. But here’s my logic: I don’t feel well most of the time, so why would I want to make it worse by being miserable during the good times? Why not find happy moments and relish them? Why not try to find all the good things I can and throw away the bad?

Also, it has sunk into my brain that even if I might die younger than I thought, it doesn’t mean I’m not here right now. And even though most days are difficult, I still get some good ones now and then…and the best thing is that even if I do have pain or feel awful, I can still have joyous things happen. For example:

I didn’t feel good the day my son graduated. But I was pretty darn happy.
I drove to my sister’s once (500 miles away) and I was so exhausted from the trip I spent the entire time on her couch. But I saw her, and had so much fun just catching up and goofing around…it was well worth it. Hell, I’ve even been happy after throwing up all day, just because it finally stopped and I felt better! Plus I can laugh at just about anything if it’s funny enough.


It’s impossible to be happy all the time, even if you’re a regular, healthy person. For us it’s an uphill challenge for sure. But it’s so important for you to really try to see things other people may miss every day. From our position, the little things can bring a lot of joy. Normal people walk on by and pass them over because they’re often too busy. We take happy moments, even little ones, and hold on to them for dear life. We know how precious they are.

But I don’t think anyone really understands things the way we do. It’s not that we’re better, just in a more peculiar place where happiness comes in different ways. I can find it just about every day. If you can’t, look more closely – maybe just knowing someone is happy you’re still around is what it takes. If you weren’t here, how would they feel? (You are more special than you think.) Or maybe you realize what good friends and family you actually have, you just forget about it in day-to-day moments. There’s something good everywhere. It’s up to you to find it.

So yes, I am sick. And I am happy. I’d be happier if I weren’t sick, but that’s not going to happen. So I take life as it is and find my happiness, because it’s right here.

Follow this journey on Missing My Life.

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Originally published: September 28, 2017
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