Thankfulness…

I am sure many of us have seen the daily Facebook posts during the month of November about all of the things our friends are thankful for. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that people are recognizing how blessed they are; that is a wonderful thing. My argument is that you should be thankful every day of the year, not just one month out of the year.

Now, I realize that sometimes it’s hard to be thankful. It is much easier to think of the negatives: the bad day at work, the argument with your spouse, the bills that need to be paid, or any of the other things that may be happening. The thing is, though, all of those negatives are what make the positives that much better. Without them, we would have no idea how good our lives really are. 

Often, someone who has just learned about my health situation  will say something like “Oh, I’m so sorry!” Well, I’m not. I’m not sorry about it at all. My ET has changed my life. Not all for the good, I’ll admit, but it has helped to make me who I am. It has made me a much bolder person than I was before I was diagnosed. It has helped me to see the brighter side of things more often, which has made me more able to see the things for which I am thankful. 

I am thankful for my family, the people who have known me my entire life, and have supported me through all of my choices (good, bad or otherwise). They were there for my diagnosis, and treatment, and all of the other excitement that came along with it. Without them I don’t know what I would have done. 

I am thankful for my husband. I was diagnosed just after we met in college, and even after seeing what I mess I was, he still stuck with me. I love you, M. 

I am thankful for my friends. Even though I’m not much fun sometimes, and can’t go out as often as I’d like, they’re still there for me.

I am thankful for my dog and writing-buddy, Tesla. Whenever I’m having a bad day, not feeling well, he’s there. No matter how long I’ve been gone he is always happy to see me, and ready to greet me with a wagging tail and a slobbery kiss. 

This is just the short list, but I am thankful for so many things in my life, and I am thankful for these things every single day.

Even if you can’t see it right now, there are things to be thankful for. My suggestion is to find the things in your every day life for which you are thankful. The girl at the coffee shop remembered your order. The lights were all green on your drive to work. The cop let you off with a warning. Whatever it may be, there are things in your life that are wonderful.

I would like to add that I am thankful for each and every one of you who may be reading this right now. I hope in some small way I have helped you to look at your life with a different perspective, and see the great things in it!

As always, be assertive. You are your own best advocate.

Until next time,

Lina

 

Blood Cancer Awareness Post 24: “But you don’t LOOK sick…”

This is a re-post, but it is very important to me. This is an issue people with chronic illnesses run into fairly frequently. 

MPNs are “Invisible Illnesses”. There really are not many outward signs that show we’re sick, but boy do we feel it. I don’t know about the rest of you, but , no matter how I look, sometimes I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. 

However well-intended the phrase may be, saying “but you don’t LOOK sick…” to a sick person is pretty insulting. The implication being that we are faking it or that it’s not real. We don’t look sick? Well…what does sick look like, pray tell? Should we all be emaciated, bruised, or limping? What does it take to be acceptably sick? This may surprise some…but not all sick people look alike. Shocking, I’m sure. (insert snarky eye roll here).

We all have good days and bad, but for the Invisibly Ill, the bad days often outnumber the good. Most of us, though are obliged to put on the happy face and get on with things. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be able get much done. I often feel like I am two completely different people; the one on the outside, who looks just fine, and deceives everyone around her; and the one on the inside who is exhausted, and battered and miserable. 

I learned to put on the happy face real quick when I got my first “Grown-Up Job”. I started at my office as the receptionist, so putting on the perky, bubbly personality, however fake it may have been, became a part of my daily life. Fatigued, sick, headache? Didn’t matter. That smile was plastered on. Inside I might have been cursing the phone for ringing, but I’d still thank you for calling and inquire how I could help. If you didn’t know I was sick…you would not know. There are days though when I just can’t fake it anymore, my fatigue catches up with me and knocks me out. On those days, I tend to hear that dreaded “but you don’t LOOK sick…”. Also on those days my sarcastic side will often think(or sometimes say, depending on the audience) “And you don’t LOOK like a jerk..but I guess appearances can be deceiving, can’t they?”

Believe me, I am neither wanting nor expecting sympathy.  Understanding would be wonderful though. Yes, it’s true that we don’t fit the picture in most people’s heads of what sick should look like, but trust me while these illnesses may be invisible, we and our pain certainly are not. 

Please, think twice before telling us we don’t fit your image.

Until tomorrow, 

Lina