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What I've Lost -- and Gained -- Because of Chronic Illness

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Today I find myself yearning to play the piano — to push the keys and feel them click gently beneath my hands. I am longing for that satisfying feeling of transferring a familiar tune from my head to my moving fingers below. I used to sit down at the piano and play a song as I heard it in my head, but those days have dwindled down as the pain and weakness have taken over my life. My arms and hands quickly begin to shake and a grueling pain takes over my limbs. Sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth the five minutes of joy I get in return.

Losing something that brings you a sense of calm and enjoyment can feel like the loss of part of your being. Part of who you once were is being taken away and replaced with pain and suffering. It is a cruel and blunt reminder of the reality of living life with chronic illness. I have lost many parts of myself over the last decade as a result of this relentless disease.

When I feel as though there is but a minuscule part of me left, I try to remind myself of the things I have gained throughout this time. I have gained gratitude for merely waking up each morning. I have gained the ability to feel the warmth and liveliness of the world’s most basic wonders. And I have learned to live my life never forgetting to be thankful for each day I am able to push on. Some pieces of my being may have moved on, but who I am is ever-changing and that is something to look forward to.

Getty image by Dima Sidelnikov.

Originally published: October 6, 2019
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