Exactly one year ago today, I fell sick with the first debilitating symptoms of ME. Memories of what seems like a past life flood my mind. It weighs me down to think of all the things I once was capable of... How much I've missed out on... How much has been taken away from me... This past year was one I never would have expected. I was in the fast lane to getting on with the rest of my life. I felt limitless. But, a year ago today, life showed me it had other plans besides the fast-paced, easy lifestyle I was living. This year has been the most scary and trying times for me. Times of unending struggle, inevitable pain, and growth. This past year has aged me more than time itself. Today is definitely a milestone. Today marks the first year I thrived despite this horrible disease. Today is also a perfect day to recognize and celebrate.
I am so thankful. The burden of past memories can only solidify the gratefulness I have for everything now. I am so much more appreciative of my body. Appreciative of the strength it requires to get out of bed, to take a shower, to dress yourself, to climb stairs... the list is unending. I am filled with compassion and understanding for all those suffering everyday. This awareness is a gift to be thankful for. I feel more grounded - sometimes more literally than I'd like - I have learned it's not what you do, or what you're capable of, but who you are as a person and the relationships we build that truly matter in this life. I am thankful for what I consider a victorious year! It has been a very dangerous battle-ground. While it seems ME gets the best of me on most days, I refuse to give up, even though I know I have many more years of fighting. I know everyday I'll wake up dependent on my medications. I know everyday comes with chronic pain, nausea, extreme fatigue, and these crazy symptoms- no matter how many hours I tried to sleep the night before. I know everyday is a struggle to get out of bed. But this can't stop me. This disease will not stop me. My life has completely changed with ME. But, life with ME isn't a life without hope! I am thankful for this ability to fight one day at a time. And, I still have the ability to enjoy life.
Honestly, I couldn't be happier. Yes, this disease sucks. Yes, I wish it were easier. Yes, I get scared and upset and wish I could change it. But I am happy. We as God's creation have this amazing ability to find happiness in the darkest of times. I find a little happiness everyday. I'm so happy for how far I've come this past year. I truly believe my family and friends have changed my outcome for the better. They've gone above and beyond to take care of me. They go out of their way to help me, comfort me, and talk with me just because they want to help. For all of you reading, you are making that difference for me, too. That difference between depression and positivity. That difference between accepting defeat and fighting everyday to live. Thank you for everything.
So, for all my American readers, today is truly a Happy Thanksgiving! I love my friends and I love my family. I'm so happy. I'm so thankful for all I have been blessed with. My vegan and gluten-free diet restrictions might keep me from the traditional holiday feasting, but I guarantee I'll still be the biggest turkey all day long! :)