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Finding Your 'Happily Ever After' When Illness Is a Reality, Not a Fairytale

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Once upon a time… Every brilliant story starts like this, doesn’t it? Mine, you ask? Mine may start with “once upon a time” but there was a time when I didn’t think it would end with a happily ever after. My name’s Georgia, nickname Bish. I’m a happy-go-lucky kind of gal, I suppose, and I just say it how it is. That’s what we all want, isn’t it? For someone just to say it how it is? So let’s start somewhere…

If you’re reading this you might also be feeling pretty crappy about this whole joint, pain and swelling situation we’ve got going on. Now I simplify it to those three things because in theory, it’s not just those things, but to be frank, who has the time to list all the possible symptoms we have to put up with? I certainly don’t, and I’m sure I have symptoms I haven’t even noticed yet. It’s been 10 years for me. 10 very long but eye-opening years. For some of you it may be much, much longer or even much, much shorter but I tell you what, no matter the length of time you’ve had to put up with this corker of a disease, I praise you my friends for still being here and fighting on for another day.

There’s a lot I can’t do, but my gosh, there’s a lot I can do. I can talk, I can write and I can just about walk (on a good day). That’s enough to be thankful for, right? I do have to be honest with myself though: while others may “have it worse,” I have to accept I am going through something terrible. Though I’m not as alone as I sometimes think I am. There are those angels who are given to us at the most difficult times to remind us we are strong enough to fight whatever is coming.


Do you have an inspiration? I never thought I had one – or at least the ones I thought I had turned out to not be as inspiring as I first thought. Being diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) at 8 years old makes you mature very quickly from thinking cartoons like Tweenies and Spongebob were your inspirations and career goals.

At times I wish I was still in that mindset, you know? Before everything got serious and trips to hospitals resulted in more than just stickers and lollipops. Where the walls on the wards changed from zoos and jungles to chipped paint and bleeping observation machines. The age where you’re oblivious to the reality of what you’re going through before banana-flavored medicine becomes all sorts of drips or injections.

The reality is, though, that we all have to grow up – hence why Peter Pan is only a story. We grow up and this becomes our future, but it doesn’t mean we should stop fighting. Even with these burdens we can write our own ending to the fairytale. Every story can end with a happily ever after – you’ve just got to get there.

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Thinkstock photo via andegro4ka.

Originally published: May 30, 2017
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