Haha, I said Ass on the Internet! What kind of google searches will I come up in now?
I've been feeling reflective today and thinking back to December 6th 2006, the day I was officially diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and faced an uncertain future. I have been thinking about how I view the anniversary of my diagnosis each year, and how this has evolved. I have always felt a sense of achievement as each year has ticked by, a a feeling of having won one more year of my life back from a heart condition I shouldn't have had to worry about for many more years.
In the earlier years, as the first year of living with my diagnosis went by quickly followed by the second there was also a sense of loss, guilt and sadness attached to each anniversary. I looked back on the things my illness had taken from me - a chance to have more children, the experience of having energy to properly take care of my twins on my own, actually energy to do anything.
Something has changed. I'm not even sure when it began, but certainly this year as my fourth year of living with a heart condition I was seeing things very differently. A sense of victory and smugness as I have survived. I am a survivor, not a victim. I have found things I can make choices about rather than focusing on the things I have no control over. I have a little evil chuckle to myself as I think of how this year I lived well despite the annoying presence of Dilated Cardiomyopathy and the increasing presence of an autoimmune condition.
I get tired easily, I get ill easily but I also live well and I love every small achievement. Even if I get to the point that I am completely 100% physically well I would not want to put behind me all that has happened. That would be ignoring a huge influence in what has made me into who I am today. I'm getting to quite like that person.
I also consider the odd day of feeling down, a few days of being frustrated by my body, some times of grieving for what may have been COMPLETELY normal. I'm sure I will still have those times. I hope I still have those times, they make me compassionate and understanding. Over all though my focus is truly changing. I feel for once I really am not defined by chronic illness. Just one example, I no longer feel the need to say I am a Stay At Home Mum due to illness, rather I say it is by choice. With factors which influence that choice of course but MY choice all the same.
How lucky I think I am to have experienced such a life changing illness. How lucky am I to be surrounded by loving people? To have seen first hand the kindness of human nature.
Lucky. And a hard working fighter. And though I know there will be days where I feel I am losing the fight against Chronic illness, I know I am winning the war :) I am living a blessed life with Chronic illness.