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19 'Little Victories' People With Chronic Illnesses Celebrate

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When you’re coping with a life-altering illness, sometimes the little things take on more meaning and significance. Taking a shower, meeting a friend for coffee, or getting through a difficult doctor’s appointment can all be proud accomplishments when you’re also dealing with the pain, fatigue and stress of your illness — and they all deserve applause just as much as the accomplishments of someone without a chronic illness.

We want to celebrate the “little victories” that happen in life with chronic illness, so we asked our Mighty community to share the things they’re proud to accomplish. No matter how “big” or “small” your victories seem, you have every right to celebrate what it took for you to accomplish them.

Here’s what our community told us: 

1. “I can now walk around the block four minutes quicker than when I started having issues with my legs. It’s a quiet yet exciting little victory!”

2. “Getting through the entirety of an event, activity, or day. It’s so empowering to know I made it through and that positivity carries me through many days afterwards while I recover.”

3. “Making a plan with friends being able to stick with it. Hate canceling, but when you know your spoons won’t last, even with borrowing from next few days, you have no other option.”

4. “The bowel movement, last night, that means I get to leave the hospital today. Several of the nurses came into my room for a mini celebration. But really, in my day-to-day life, a BM is still cause for celebration.”

5. “Getting any part of my house cleaned up is a little victory — even if it’s just cleaning off the dining room table — but it makes me feel good. There’s nothing quite like being too sick to clean your house and having to sit there and watch it get dirtier and messier and you’re powerless to do anything about it.”

6. “A little victory for me is leaving the house and being able to meet a friend for coffee. I’m always really pleased with myself when I get out and have a treat.”

7. “Any day that I can look at my endless to-do list and actually make myself cross one off is a huge victory. If I can get more than one done in a day, then I feel like I’m on top of the world.”

8. “After a year of bursting into tears after every GP appointment, I found one who listens, believes me, tries her hardest for me and never suggests I’m going mad! A supportive GP has made a world of difference to how I manage the other multiple problems and many specialists.”

9.Working out three or four times a week. Every one I do is part of the bigger picture I’m working towards. It’s mind over matter most days. Yesterday I celebrated a victory that I could jog for .25 of a mile without stopping. I’ve been working on that.”

10. “I’m always really proud of myself when I make my bed (like actually put my throw pillows on it and everything), when I get my steps in for the day, or when I do some tasks that ‘normal’ people take for granted (like making it through another doctor’s appointment or getting grocery shopping done.)”

11. “One of my greatest victories is actually when I gather the courage to talk to my closest friends and family about how I really feel. Throwing away that mask of fake bravery and positivity and just putting it all out there so they can understand me better. Cry together with them. The sense of relief afterwards is overwhelming.”

12. “When I was first diagnosed with lymphedema, my left ankle and foot swelled up so big I could barely put on a shoe. Now, with proper treatment and upkeep, not only can I wear tennis shoes, but sometimes even cute heels! It seems trivial, and I can only wear them for a couple hours at a time but hey… who wants to wear heels for more than a few hours, anyway?”

13. “When I can wake up in the morning, hear my daughter singing from her crib, and get up to get her without having to ‘pop’ every joint back in place, stretch for 20 minutes, hobble to the cabinet to take a pain pill, then go get her. I cherish the days I can move freely!”

14.Getting my laundry put away the same day I wash it. To do my laundry I have to go from my second floor bedroom to the basement. Then back up and down to the basement to move the clothes through the laundry steps, and finally up two flights to my room. Some days, if I’m really lucky I can get two loads of laundry done on the same day.”

15. “Being able to actually style my hair and fix my makeup! Usually, if I’m actually going somewhere, I have to choose between the two and just do the bare minimum.”

16. “Going to all my uni lectures in a week because often I’m so exhausted and fatigued that I struggle to make all of them so I’m really happy when I do make them all.”

17. “The other day I was able to cook dinner for my family and I was so happy… it was emotional. These small moments and improvements get me through the days.”

18. “Something as minor as getting out of bed and getting dressed. Some days I just stay in my pajamas all day as I’m too exhausted to even have a wash.”

19. “Putting on my own socks. I had hip surgery where I had 20 tumors removed, and for months and months I was on severe hip precautions to where I couldn’t bend down. There are days where it is still too hard to bend down, but the days I can… are really good days for me.”

Originally published: April 20, 2017
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