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Finding the Good in the Bad with Chronic Illness

What if I had never gotten sick; who would I be?

If I could go back in time and choose to not have Crohn’s Disease or CIPO, what would I do?

If I could change any of this would I?

I'm not saying I Like it or Want it; but, I can find the good in it

This post focuses on the good things – the gifts that have come out of living with chronic illness. I know that there are some people out there that feel upset when someone says they feel lucky or thankful for their disease. I’m not saying that. I don’t like having chronic illnesses but I have accepted my situation by learning to live with it instead of living against it. I don’t spend time focusing on the ‘what if’s’ because what’s the point?

My situation is my situation. I have these health conditions, like it or not, and they aren’t going anywhere. I certainly don’t like that I have had to go through so much but I refuse to live a negative life and say that nothing good has come out of this. Truth is, there are some positive things.

This life. This life is something I never pictured for myself. My dream was to finish school and go on to be a high school teacher. I pictured myself married by now with some kids perhaps. I saw myself being financially stable; I saw everything pretty much the opposite of what it is. I don’t have that job. I’m drowning in medical debt. I’m not married. I’m not “perfect”… and I love it! 

Unexpected Blessings of My Life with Chronic Illness

What I am is happy and I wasn’t happy back then. Here are some of the good things I can see that have come out of having Crohn’s Disease and Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction:

  • Being able to say that I can even find things to feel positive about. Not many people are able to look at it like that so that in itself is a blessing.
  • If I had never gotten sick I wouldn’t have the job that I have today. I only got involved in the hair industry because I was looking for some part time work when I was recovering from my first two surgeries.
  • I have more body confidence now than I ever had before. Seeing my scars makes me proud of what I have gone through and that I still have more time here to enjoy life.
  • I appreciate life. The little things, the big things, and everywhere in-between because I know what it’s like to lose most of my quality of life.
  • I am proud of myself because of what I have gone through, because of my advocacy efforts, and for living life in the way that I have. It’s nice to feel proud of yourself.
  • I met many of my best friends like Sarah, Nadia, and SVT through work and like I said I wouldn’t have my job if I never had that 6 month hospital stay. My friends mean so much to me and I can’t picture my life without them in it.
  • I know this sounds cliche AF but I honestly feel like having IBD and CIPO led me to my purpose. I feel like where I am right now is right where I am supposed to be. I have helped others and that is the best gift out of all of this.
  • I learned new skills that I otherwise would have never tried and I really enjoy them because they allow me to be creative and express myself in a new way.
  • Camp Oasis: one of the best things to ever happen to me for so many reasons.
  • The friendships I’ve built with so many of you. Whether I only know you online, have been able to meet you in person at things like Camp Oasis, GYGIG, or other IBD events; there are so many of you who have become such close friends of mine.
  • Becoming an advocate. I never thought this would be part of my life but it’s ah-maze-ing! I love all of the opportunities that I have had to help patients, doctors, nurses, and others who are involved in the lives of patients.
  • I used to focus on the things that I didn’t have in my life but now I am able to focus more on the things that I do have. I learned to appreciate and enjoy the small things.
  • I have a very unique outlook on people and life that most people do not have. This has shaped me into a person who appreciates the good days so much. I appreciate people in my life and I just look at the world differently. I have been so sick that good days become GREAT days.


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