Have you ever had a bad year with you health?
After four types of cancer and two autoimmune diseases, I’ve had a few of those years.
At the end of them, I typically close my eyes as the ball starts to drop in Times Square and say to myself, “Next year I will ________ (fill in the blank with) Feel better, go into remission, be cured, not need as much assistance or medication… the list is lengthy.
Not that there is anything wrong with making wishes. Never losing faith that things will get better is incredibly important when dealing with chronic illness.
But what happens when a miracle cure doesn’t appear and we are stuck with the same old disease year after year?
As my mother once said, [bctt tweet=”“If you can’t change your situation, you have to change YOU in the situation.””]
Growing up, I never understood what she was talking about until I got sick. That’s when those 14 words changed my life.
Getting multiple illnesses wasn’t a choice for me. How I dealt with it was.
We all have a decision to make when faced with terrifying challenges. We can let it destroy us or use it to make us stronger.
When I was first diagnosed, I was bewildered as to why I would get a life threatening autoimmune disease after already having cancer multiple times. Did God hate me? Did I do something wrong in a past life and Karma was now kicking my ass?
But here is what I learned. The why doesn’t really matter. What’s important is what we do from that point on.
I decided to pull out of my medically induced pity party and see if I could look at illness from a different perspective to see what I could learn from it.
Here’s what I found that helped me to gain wisdom from my chronic disease instead of letting it run me over:
- It’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything to deserve getting sick nor are you being punished.
- There are little miracles to help us every day you just have to find them. And sometimes you have to look REALLY hard.
- It’s not always about you. When I was bedridden, I would constantly worry about what this experience of having their mom just lay there unable to be with them was doing to my young children. As they grew, I was an amazing sense of compassion develop in each of them and a sense of understanding and empathy I could have never taught them another way. My daughter now leads massive food drives for the hungry and my son works in orphanages all over the world. Talk about turing lemons into lemonade!
- Others are watching. What do you want to teach them? Strength and determination are contagious. So is self victimization.
- Self-Forgiveness – we typically carry a truck full of baggage with us when we get sick. Forgive yourself for it all. You will feel lighter and stronger for it.
- Letting go is key – If you can’t do what you used to, it’s ok. You probably can do some pretty amazing other stuff now like model hope and faith to others.
- Detach but don’t disengage. Chronic disease is something you have, it isn’t who you are. Never own your disease as a part of you. It’s just a thing you deal with on your journey through life
- Remember what you can do not what you can’t. Before I got sick I was a marathon runner. Within months of my last race I was in a wheelchair. Even though my physical body was limited, my mind was not. But I could still write. I ended up writing a best selling book from all the time I had in bed. Lemonade…
- Keep an attitude of gratitude. Staying positive is very important when dealing with health issues. Keep a log of all that you are grateful for and refer back to it when you are feeling down. For more info on the health benefits of gratitude, click here
- Find ways to serve others. When I was really sick, I fostered kittens. Doing anything, no matter how small, pulled me out of my misery and made me feel like a contributing member of the human race again.
Following these steps can help us release the hold illness has on us and refocus our mind to our higher calling. Chronic Disease, or any disease, is nothing more than a giant arrow pointing down a different path. Don’t ever give it more credit than it deserves.
About the Author
Lisa Douthit is the author of Amazon’s #1 bestselling book, Wellness Warrior – Fighting for Life in Fabulous Shoes and an Integrative Health Consultant who is passionate about healing from all perspectives. After struggling with multiple bouts of cancer and autoimmune disease, no one understands the physical, spiritual, and emotional rollercoaster better than she does. As one of the 40 million American women currently suffering with an autoimmune disease, she made it her mission to have a voice for all those with an invisible illness that cannot, as well as share the understanding of lessons she learned to help us all feel and be better. She has a private Facebook Group called Wellness Warrior Tribe for all those with chronic illness looking for support and encouragement. For more out of the box thinking that is guaranteed to bring you joy, Like her FaceBook Page Here or join the tribe Here.