My word for 2018 is "gratitude."
I've been sick for 2.5 years now.
That means 2.5 years of praying, begging, crying, hoping, being disappointed, devastated, and scared shitless.
There's not a day that goes by that I don't fear for my future and lament the health choices of my past.
Not a day passes where I don't actively miss my old self, and mourn what has become of my body and spirit.
It's been a miserable, terrifying slog.
But through this slog, I've realized I have not done myself any favors.
I have not improved my quality of life one bit by incessantly obsessing about my symptoms or beating myself up for the mistakes that were made that lead to my disability.
Much research has been done on the power of positive thinking.
And, while I do not believe a positive mindset will heal me of the TBI and bodily dysfunction caused by medical malpractice, I do know that the daily worry, fear, and anger I experience compounds the stress on my already overtaxed body.
So what's to be done?
Best I can figure, gratitude should be my cornerstone to combating my negative mindset.
Instead of lamenting what I can no longer do, I'm actively attempting to remind myself to be grateful for what I CAN still do.
Last week I watched a news segment on a man with ALS and his wife.
Inarguably, this couple had been handed a shit sandwich.
ALS is a debilitating disease and this young couple had to continuously adapt as the man lost more and more of his abilities.
Today, he is wheelchair- and bed-bound, and relies on a computer to speak for him.
And he and his wife couldn't be happier.
They have very little money, as his care is incredibly expensive. She has to do everything for him...
And yet, they are all smiles.
They enjoy spending their days together.
They paint together (He puts paint on the wheels of his wheelchair and maneuvers over canvas. They then sell his paintings to raise money for his care.)
Despite their obstacles, they have nothing negative to say about their life.
They don't cry. They laugh.
The happy faces beaming forth from my television show no fear.
Rather than waste one moment on fear, they fight for a cure. They're sure they will find one.
And...I find myself actually being jealous of this couple.
While watching this news segment, I turned to Scott.
"I'm doing this wrong," I say with tears in my eyes.
"This man is worse off than me. This couple has more challenges. But they're managing so well. I....need to do better. I WILL do better."
And that was that.
I'd love to say I've done a complete 180 since that broadcast.
But I've never been a very keen liar.
So here's the truth: I still lament what I've lost 55 minutes out of every hour. But I am making a conscious effort for those other 5 minutes to be grateful for the gifts I still possess.
Is it making a difference?
I don't know.
But it can't hurt...
And right now I'll even settle for "it can't hurt" - that's more than any other treatment option has been able to offer.
It's my new thing.
Thanks for reading.
I'm grateful you did.