This isn’t much of a post, but I wanted to get something down for the day! I am totally beat today – yesterday I spent the day with a friend in Nazareth; we went to the Farmer’s Market, caught bits of “Martin on Main,” got ice cream (I got vegan ice cream – so good!!), and then just walked and visited for a few hours. I am extremely thankful that I was able to go out and spend five hours with this friend – it has been MANY, MANY years since I have been able to be out and about that long (even when I have to make my “long” trips to the doctor, it is a matter of psyching myself out to get through the trip and I literally drive there, go to my appointment, and drive right back … then crash in bed!). I think back even a year ago and most of the time I was in a wheelchair because of my broken spine. And before that things were even worse – the period of time immediately after I realized I was developing auto-antibodies to the Remicade that I had been on for years and years and years that led to having to come off the methotrexate (it was just making me more ill than helping after using it for about nine years) that led to having to increase my steroid intake and before I started getting on very low amounts of steroids and after my back started to heal was a time of its own kind of hell. Let’s just say a year ago I could barely walk … and now I walk at least seven miles a day! I am also about 40 lbs lighter just from the water retention associated with the steroids; I am not quite to my “normal” weight, but I am getting pretty damn close, so all things considered, I am doing very well.

I just wanted to put a little bit of that down not only so everyone knows there is always hope and you NEVER KNOW WHAT IS AROUND THE CORNER (regarding your health or anything else in life!) but just so I can reflect on my own recent past and iterate the gratitude I have every second of my life, even facing the difficult health problems I am now facing. The me of even five yeras ago would not recognize the me of today, and I cannot express how thankful I am just to have come so far. I often discuss the “downsides” of chronic illness; how it affects (often negatively) essentially every aspect of life. But I want to make clear here as well that even without hunting for any sort of “rationalization” for the “justification” of chronic illness as a “GOOD THING,” there is good that comes out of it – the ability to be thankful for progress toward better health however big or small is one such “benefit.” I know many “normal, healthy” people who have difficulty expressing gratitude for the plethora of amazing things they have in their lives – a good income in loved jobs, partners who love them, living in great locations, &c. – and still these people often find themselves depressed. I tend to ask “why?” although doing so is an exercise in futility, at best. What I am getting at with all of this is just that those of us who have “been through it” in any capacity tend to be able to truly appreciate not only the progress we have made in our lives but the good things we have in life, however simple they might be. Just having a friend to text or talk to when you’re feeling down – that is an incredible gift. Just to be able to fall asleep to quiet at night with a roof over your head and safety is an incredible, INCREDIBLE gift. If there are “purposes” we are supposed to fulfill in life, I believe one of those collective purposes for those of us who suffer from chronic illness is to help those people who can’t “see” how fortunate they really are learn to appreciate what they have and to share that joy and sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with others so the cycle perpetuates.

At any rate, I hope you are all having a wonderful Sunday! I hope you have all had great weekends like I have! I have 100% officially moved now (I am still more or less living out of boxes, but I’m getting there, slowly!), and I’m really hopeful this place will be MY HOME for the first time in many, MANY years! If there is any particular subject you would like me to discuss here, please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me via email! I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post and I hope you are having a happy and healthy day or night wherever you are in the world!

❤ Always, Beth


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