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I Have More Confidence in Myself Ever Since I Became Sick

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This is going to sound corny. These articles can always seem too uplifting, and some of you would probably refer to them as “inspiration porn.” But this article isn’t meant to be any of those things.

I’m writing this because I came to a realization in recent weeks. I realized I live my life very differently ever since I became sick, and that’s not always a bad thing. Sure, I do need extra help, and I do have less energy, but I also feel more confident in myself.

My illness has given me a new perspective on how quickly life can change. My life went from three cheer teams a year to no cheer, no physical activity and the loss of so many other fun activities I used to do.

This change didn’t happen gradually — it happened overnight. One day I was a normal teenager ready to take on semester two of school, and the next day I was falling down the stairs, constantly fatigued by the illness I have now learned will never leave me alone.

Ever since then, I have lived in the moment. I have been plagued by missed opportunities from my lost life, and I know that feeling will haunt me for the rest of the life. For this reason, I do everything I can with this second life. I live in the moment, I dance in the rain, I eat a cookie, I tell my crush I like them and, above all, I make sure I never have to ask myself, “What if?”

Before I became sick, I would have contemplated doing some of these things for days. I would have been embarrassed to dance like a fool, and I certainly never would have never been courageous to tell the boy I like that I like him. Yet, here I am.

I have lived through possible strokes, tremors, migraines, dislocations, blackouts and so many other symptoms, and the scariest part of it all is knowing that it doesn’t end there. I know there is always the possibility of my trachea collapsing for good, the possibility of a major stroke and the possibility of an aortic dissection. There is always the possibility of the unknown.

It is this possibility that drives me, though. It is sad to say, but my life is a lot less predictable than the next person’s. I never know when my breathing will stop, when my heart will stop or when my brain will clot, so I live with no regrets because I know that my biggest regret of all would be sitting on a hospital bed saying “What if?”

I love the life I live now. It may be full of pain, doctors and medications, but it’s also full of smiles and laughter. I’ve learned to see the positives. I encourage other spoonies to live their lives like I do. Rather than contemplating that text or paper for hours, just send it. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t get the response you wanted, but it is better than the wondering that comes with never trying.

If you take nothing else from this article, please live the best life you can because you never know what’s around the corner. 

Originally published: September 30, 2016
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