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3 Things I'm Grateful for From This Past Year With Chronic Illness

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Today marks the seventh year (I guess you could say anniversary!) of my chronic illness, and if you read my post from last year (six years...), you’ll have read a little about how I got to where I am today.

As I said in that post last year, I don’t like to look back and think how things could have been, because “could I, would I, should I” is going to get me nowhere now. Looking forward is my only option.

But this also got me thinking. Where was I this time last year? What has changed for me in a whole year?

So on a positive note, I got to thinking about three things I’m grateful for in the past year. Three things that have helped me move on with my life and focus on something else other than my crappy health. Three things that have made me a stronger person than this time last year.

1. My Furbabies

My girls, Fergie and Jessie (cats), who I love a little more with each and every day, who keep me going in my sad moments and comfort me when I need it the most. My Bubba, my Mr. Handsome, is the most amazing dog you will ever ever meet. He’s so laidback but will love you with every inch of his bones and do anything to please you. And then there’s Hamish, in some ridiculous moment I decided I wanted another dog. So my Hamish joined the family. This guy, my guy, has taught me so much in the year we have had him home. He’s taught me how to negotiate (because that’s how you “train” Cockers), you negotiate and work out the best way forward for both of you. He taught me that I have so much more love to give, and that I did have a huge space in my heart for him. He’s taught me to laugh and to live again, and when I’m with them, nothing else in the world matters. And then… We added another member, our Maggie. My heart just expanded even more, my love grew even more.

2. My Health

Now this seems a bit of an odd one to be grateful for, because let’s face it, I’d not be writing this blog if it wasn’t for my health. But in a weird, twisted kind of way, I have to be grateful for it. I’m still here, I’m still taking on every day as best I can. I’ve lost weight, I’m watching what I eat and I’m trying to make the right decisions for my chronic pain. My conditions are never going to go away, so while I can, I’m going to try and make the best of it and do what I can to keep going.

3. True People

This past year, namely the last half of the year, has been so tough, and a year I hope to never repeat. But it has put many things in to perspective. It has made people show their true colors, it’s made me open my eyes and realize just how naïve and trusting I was. I’ve been hurt so much this past year, physically and emotionally, that I did not have it in me to carry on the way I was. I am so lucky to have a few faithful, kind, generous, gorgeous friends, friends I trust, friends who have my back, that will never let me down, that I had to reassess just what was and is important to me. Life is tough, but I’m surrounded a select bunch of people that mean the most to me, so I know I’m not alone.

Although there has been a lot going on in the last year, full of ups and downs and everything in between, life has been hectic, challenging, but I’m not sure I’d have it any other way. I would really like to have more sleep, and be less exhausted every day, but that’s something to work on over the next year.

So here’s to another year. Another year of life’s challenges, and another year I’ve made it through!

On to the next year…

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Photo via Maria Teijeiro on Getty Images

Originally published: December 1, 2017
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