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A Cheerful Approach to a Chronic Situation Is Good Medicine

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A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news health to the bones. Proverbs 15:30

It’s a gorgeous morning. The sun is shining, the birds are singing.

I can hear children playing in the local schoolyard and a cool gentle breeze is blowing through my bedroom window.

I’m resting on my bed in the hope my broken bones will soon cease screaming at me. Pain meds will take the edge off eventually, and I’ll be able to stand long enough to sort out my stoma and get dressed for the day.

I’m not going anywhere today. My rare disease renders me pretty much housebound every day. Despite that, I still like to dress as if I have something special to do.

Smart casual is my style… or it is now. It used to be corporate suits with high-heeled shoes. I miss that, but I quite like my new wardrobe.

Everything has elasticated waists for comfort and ease of wear, plus that works better sitting over my stoma. I like slightly fitted, tunic style tops over 3/4-length bengaline pants. Both have to easily pull on and off and be made of slightly stretchy material to allow me to move freely.

The pants hug my legs a little, as this provides my broken bones extra support when I stand. A bit like bandages. So there is a slight method to getting dressed like this each day.

I’ve learned the hard way when it’s come to reinventing my wardrobe. My husband and I have been known to cut me out of tops that haven’t stretched, as I couldn’t pull my arms in the right direction to get out of them.

Sad… but oh so funny. On those occasions, through tears of laughter, I’ve managed to give my husband clear cutting directions while I’ve been stuck in the top. A great trust exercise! Thankfully no one has been harmed during such a procedure. His handiwork has been so good, after each “surgical removal,” I’ve been able to turn the top into a jacket. Bonus!

You really do just have to sit back and laugh sometimes at such a ludicrous situation.

Today and every day I’m enjoying what I can do, rather than thinking about the things I can’t do.

It’s not easy.

A concerted effort overtime was needed to change my mindset, but it was well worth the effort. It’s always worth the effort.

That moment when the focus shifts to the possible, rather than looking at the impossible, is a life-changing moment. It’s the moment a cheerful heart has room to emerge.

Don’t get me wrong, dreaming of the impossible, holding onto hopes and dreams, believing they can happen, is also important at times.

But when the very basics of life are verging on the impossible every day, a dose of reality and being grateful for what you can do, is so important.

I’ve had a really tough few months with some bad news on the health front. Among other things, I’ve had gastroparesis added to my list of diagnoses. I’ve also recently been reminded by my medical team, my rare bone disease is progressing and there is no treatment and no cure. I’ve been reminded no further surgery can even be considered as I am such a high risk for permanent complications or worse.

My left femur is still well and truly broken nearly four years on from the initial break. It’s now classified as a permanent break. With the progression of my disease, my body is affected from head to toe with various ongoing fractures and muscular atrophy. I can’t sleep or sit comfortably. Getting in and out of chairs or the car or any movement at all really, causes excruciating pain resulting in debilitating fatigue.

I could increase my pain medication, but it would completely reduce my ability to write, think and support others through my online forum.

It’s a chronic situation and one that requires me to make difficult choices to ensure I am living the best life possible.

I’ve needed some encouragement over the past few weeks. It can be a bit hard to come by when feeling so overwhelmed with pain and disease.

When the punches keep coming, an encouraging word means so much, especially when you are extremely limited in what you can do.

Encouragement can come from friends and family, even strangers, or from something you’ve read.

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news health to the bones. Proverbs 15:30

This little proverb was on my calendar, and it reminded me how much a cheerful heart really is the best medicine.

It encouraged me and confirmed I am on the right track when I focus on helping others, encouraging others.

I need to keep surrounding myself with things that encourage me and make me happy so I’m able to bring ongoing cheer to others.

It’s good medicine to do that. According to the Proverb, it even brings good health to the bones to give a cheerful look.

Those close to me know I give cheerful looks constantly! So why are my bones so bad you may ask?

Well, I don’t think it’s supposed to be literal. It means to give a cheerful look or to be cheerful, gives you a sense of well-being. When battling a chronic illness or dealing with any difficult chapter in your life, that sense of well being is exactly what is needed to help sustain you.

That being said, I did smile and felt very encouraged that the Proverb says “good news brings health to the bones.” A sense of hope flooded my soul, and that’s a good thing. We all need hope and as a Christian, I believe and know my seemingly hopeless situation is well and truly in God’s hands.

If God wants to send me “good news that will bring health to my bones,” then I believe that is absolutely possible.

In fact I do receive the gift of “good health” every day. Each encouraging interaction I have with others or each time I provide encouragement, I have a greater sense of well-being.

Without the good news of a cure or treatment, I am resolved to remain working on having a cheerful heart. It does make a difference to my overall well-being.

Giving cheerful looks and encouraging words to others, truly is good medicine.

Getty image by Rohappy.

Originally published: October 13, 2018
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