Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Pay Attention to your Priorities

We’re in the midst of a very big election.  Don’t worry, I am not about to spend your precious time on election details.  As we get ready to vote, we all make decisions about which issues are a priority for us and our families.  We determine what we want the focus to be of the incoming administration.  We debate, even fight, over what’s “right”, but truly that’s personal in nature.  So where am I going with all this?

While watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition, the story centered on a little boy named Job.  Job was diagnosed with leukemia at age four.  After beating the leukemia he contracted a damaging pulmonary virus and he needed a double lung transplant.  Following the transplant he’s on medication that has caused cataracts in both eyes and his body has swollen beyond recognition.  He’s not in a wheelchair, but the amazing thing is he’s a regular 10 year old.  He is a hero in his town and after last night’s show across the country, but the biggest lesson came from his mother.

She made a statement, “Appreciate those things that most people take for granted”.  It may seem simple, but it is one of the most powerful statements I’ve heard in a long time.  The truth is that those who don’t face a health challenge take things like what they eat, the amount of sleep they get and their ability to move freely as if it’s a right, with no strings attached.  It’s different for those of us facing a chronic or life-threatening illness.

For some sleeping through the night is triumphant.  (As someone who was awake every hour on the hour last night I am very cognizant of sleep today).  Maybe it’s eating a meal and not having it upset your GI tract.  There are many things that when they happen are big news…so it’s important to pay attention and cherish those moments.  Don’t let these moments go by as the absence of something bad or challenging.  Take that full night of sleep as a gift and pay attention to how you feel when you wake from that peaceful slumber.

Small things are not small when we give them attention.  They can be the one factor that gives us a little hope that our body remembers the days prior to the illness.  The goal is to have more and more of those moments, but till you do, take each one as a nugget of hope and remember it’s not a small thing, no move toward wellness is small.