I’ve tried to write this post for a long time. I tried to make it funny, but I ended up rambling about the inner workings of apple pie for 4 lines straight. I tried to make it short and to the point, but if I was any good at that, this whole paragraph wouldn’t exist. I even tried to write something in that cute-holiday-festive-pumpkin-spice-style that’s taken over Walgreens, but the cheese factor was starting to seriously mess with me. But then I realized that the problem wasn’t the way I was writing. The problem was I didn’t know what I wanted to say.
I mean, I knew what I wanted to say, but I didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say the way I wanted to say it. You know what I’m saying? Great! Neither do I.
Now, this whole thing would be a lot easier if I had just googled “thanksgiving blog post ideas” and gone with the first thing I saw. But I tried that, and it just didn’t feel right. So I tried number 2, and number 17, and number 43, and those kinda sucked too. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that trying to write something from other people’s ideas was not gonna work. So instead of writing nothing, I wrote this.
It’s not super funny, it’s not oozing out holiday cheer, and it’s definitely not perfect, but it’s true. These are the things I am thankful for not in spite of IBD, but because of it.
Now, I could have just listed all of the “normal person” things I am thankful for. And don’t get me wrong; there are tons of “normal” things I appreciate. But when you live with a chronic illness, when you stop to think about everything that’s going on in your life, a lot of times, you think about how that illness affects your life. And that’s okay. So rather than hide those thoughts and act like a “normal person,” I choose to embrace the differences in my life and find the positives in a sucky disease.
Of course, I’m not saying that my life is rainbows and sunshine and I’m so incredibly thankful for the amazing-ness of chronic illness. Shots and pills and appointments and feeling like a slug walking through mud (which is probably really hard considering slugs don’t have legs..I think) aren’t things that I’m “thankful” for. But in writing this list, I hope that I can help others see that even though not everything is good, it is still possible to find good in everything. So, (drumroll please)…..in the spirit of Thanksgiving, and in no particular order besides the order I thought of them in, here is:
My honest list of things that IBD has made me thankful for:
- The ability to wait, and wait, and wait….and not get annoyed so easily
- Hospital lobbies with good food
- A sense of empathy for other people, because you never know how they feel on the inside
- Bathrooms with no one else in them
- The ability to say no to myself and other people
- The realization that I can’t do everything, or as much, as some people, and that’s ok
- Butterfly needles
- Being hungry (unless it’s for popcorn…then I’m screwed)
- A perspective not just focused on me. Other people matter too!
- Doctors who care about me, not just my intestines.
- Learning new things (aka being a complete medical nerd)
- Pharmacies, and how they don’t complain (at least in front of you) about your complicated medication lists
- Health insurance (even when they do complain about your complicatedness)
- A platform to educate/empower people like you!
As you can see, even a sucky thing like IBD has its upsides. So, this Thanksgiving, (or random week in November if you’re outside of the U.S.), I challenge you to take something sucky/challenging/annoying/all of the above from your life, big or small, and write down at least 3 things that it has made you thankful for. If you want, leave a comment below sharing your thoughts. You can do it!