We have all heard that saying “Laugh To Keep From Crying”, right? Well friends, I can say without hesitation that this saying is the motto by which I live my life. Thanks to Blogger DearLillyJune, I laugh on a daily basis. Battling chronic illness and pain can be overwhelming. No matter how little chronic pain or illness intrudes on your life, the intrusion feels overwhelming. I routinely find myself annoyed and sometimes devastated when my plans are interrupted by one of my conditions. As of right now, I have been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Raynaud’s, Migraines, Hypertension, Asthma, Essential Tremors, and a few other goodies. I am in constant pain, never have enough energy, never know when I will feel great and be able to attend events, and food is my sworn enemy. You see, life with chronic illness and pain flat out SUCKS.
Now, before you go getting all sad for me, please know that while having these conditions sucks, I am still very much able to enjoy life. I have a small but mighty support system, but more importantly I have made a decision to enjoy EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of life on this side of the dirt. My pain will make me cry at times, but I have also decided to laugh when I’m not crying. In fact, this morning I realized that from my illnesses, I have gained lots of skills and helpful pieces of information. Here are the reasons having the conditions have I are not all bad:
1. I can quickly refute urban legends about food digestion. For example, if you swallow gum it does not take 7 years to come out. In fact, as a chronie (what we call one another), it comes out almost immediately…still whole actually. Also, no matter how many times you chew corn, it will still be whole when you see it later. You’re welcome.
2. I can predict the weather with better accuracy than most meteorologists…particularly rain and snow. I can tell you the night before if there will be rain or snow the following morning. I’m a little iffy on declaring partly cloudy days…but hey, perfection would simply be unfair.
3. I have a unrestricted pass to eat McDonald’s whenever I choose. McDonald’s is actually the healthy option for chronies. As a chronie, I routinely have to follow the low residue diet. This means I have to eat food with little to no nutritional value that leaves the body fairly quickly but is packed with calories. I know, being forced to eat those golden fries on a regular basis is such a heavy burden…but hey, someone has to do it.
4. It is LITERALLY impossible to ignore my presence. I don’t know if I have osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis to thank, but my joints are extremely noisy. No one has EVER told me, “oh I didn’t hear you come in”, when I entered a room. When I dance, you will LITERALLY hear about it. Simply reaching in my purse for lip gloss or bending down to tie my shoes sounds like stilettos hitting a hardwood floor. When this happens in the presence of strangers, I like to yell in agony and crumble to the floor in pain. When I hear the surprise gasp, I quickly jump up and laugh hysterically. I know, I have issues…we covered that a few blogs ago.
5. My purse doubles as a musical instrument. Currently, I am on 20 different medications. Yes, you read that correctly and no I didn’t say 20 pills. 20 different medications. But, with all of them stuffed into my purse, every time I walk it sounds like I am shaking a maraca. If anyone ever needs a beat on the spot…I got it! Again, no one will EVER say they didn’t hear me enter the room.
6. I will NEVER lose a game of Dutch Oven to a non-chronie. Not to brag, but my farts ruin lives! RUIN LIVES I SAY! Again, you’re welcome.
7. I could be a tour guide for any hospital in my city…I have likely been at them all at some point in my life. When I enter most hospitals, I am greeted like Norm on the show Cheers. Gotta say, there REALLY is something about being where everyone knows your name…seriously!
8. If my current career doesn’t work out, I could easily be a pharmaceutical salesman. I am probably more knowledgable than most physicians on the drugs used to treat auto-immune diseases. I can tell you about the research trials, European studies, and likely offer a personal review of the medicine because it is almost impossible to name a medicine that treats auto-immune diseases that I have not been on at some point.
9. I’m a mattress expert. I can pick a bed like nobody’s business.
10. I own enough underwear to cover the butts of every woman in a small nation. My underwear drawer is actually a box. With my conditions, an endless supply of panties is an absolute requirement.
Thanks to blogger DearLillyJune, I hve been nominated for the Liebster Award for new bloggers. Thank you so much for thinking of me. Here are the rules for the Liebster Award if you’re amazing enough to be nominated and choose to accept it, you must:
1. Answer 11 questions given to you by your nominator;
2. Leave a link back to the person who nominated you;
3. Nominate up to 11 blogs that are relatively new (usually less than 200 followers);
4. Notify your nominees; and
5. Create 11 questions for the nominees.
So, here are the questions I was asked along with my answers:
1. Here’s the Lorelai question, posed to her daughter Rory every year on her birthday: What do you think of your life so far?
Answer: I gotta say, I am quite pleased with my life. Given my long standing health battles and the environment in which I grew up, I am living a life that was completely unimaginable to me. I have a strong and unbreakable relationship with God based on what I know to be true…not what others have read or scared me into believing. I have two children that doctors told me were virtually impossible, an amazing husband delivered straight from God himself that I didn’t think I would live long enough to marry, let alone enjoy, an amazing career, and a host of friends and family that love and support me.
2. What’s the cruelest thing you could do to another human being?
Answer: I think the cruelest thing you can do to another human being is to devalue them, tear them down, and use anything (words, actions, the law, or etc) to reduce them to anything other than a human being.
3. How do you avoid doing #2?
Answer: To avoid #2, all you have to do, as an individual, is understand the impact of your words and actions or inaction on others, and avoid using those things as a weapon. Most people would recite the golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, but I don’t think that is appropriate here. What if a woman doesn’t love herself…the bar for how she should treat others would be set pretty low under the golden rule. If I had to compose a rule, I would say “treat others 30 times BETTER than you treat yourself or than you ask others to treat you”. No matter what a person thinks of themselves under that rule, the bar for treating others is still set pretty high.
4. What’s the kindest thing you could do for other human beings?
Answer: Maya Angelou once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I believe this with all that is within in. So, I think the kindest thing you can do to another human being is make them feel valued, respected, and like a human being needed on this earth.
5. How do you get motivated, or motivate others, to do more of #4?
Answer: See, I don’t think you can motivate individuals. You can only create an environment in which individuals choose to be motivated. So, I have challenged myself to always strive to create an environment in which people may choose to be motivated to be kind to others. I do this by being kind myself. I’m not always successful because I definitely have my days…and when I read people it’s legendary. But, I make a conscious effort to try. I am motivated by the person looking back at me in the mirror, the two little faces that look up at me every moring with so much admiration in their eyes, and the face I lay next to every night. Those faces hold me accountable.
6. What do you dream about at night?
Answer: I actually don’t know. It is very rare for me to remember a dream. When I do, it was usually a nightmare…and I have the same ones. One involves me stuck in a public restroom during a crohn’s flare and after I go I realize there is no toilet tissue. I then have to ask a person in the next stall for tissue. Too many issues in that nightmare to unpack at this time.
7. What do you daydream about during the day?
Answer: The joke in my family is that I lack an imagination so I can’t say that I ever daydream. I do however plot on a regular basis.
8. If you could go back and choose it, what would your first word be?
Answer: Bacon. It took far too long for me to say that word. I missed out on valuable time I could’ve spent eating bacon.
9. If there were anything you could remember about your life as a baby, what would be your chosen memory?
Answer: The excitement from my parents when I took my first steps. While both of my parents each had a child before me, I was their first child together. I would image seeing their baby walk for the first time was extremely exciting. So, I would’ve liked to capture that.
10. Why are we so quick to pose questions, and so slow to listen for the answers?
Answer: Because we are a society of “Ready-Made-Responses”. We are trained from the time we are kids to ask particular questions in conversations or give particular responses. We do this so often that it is done on autopilot that most times we have completely checked out of the conversation altogether. For example, Amy arrives at work Monday morning and spots co-worker Tom in the break room. Amy says “Good morning Tom”. Tom replies “Good morning Amy, how was your weekend”. The “how was your weekend” question is an example of something we are taught to ask. Amy could say “it was horrible, my house caught fire”, and Tom could completely miss it thinking about bacon because he has checked out of the conversation. So, Tom will likely reply “oh, well mine was good too”.
11. If you had to ask yourself one question each day to take stock of your life, what would that question be?
Answer: If I don’t wake up tomorrow, as of tonight what did I change about this world and how will I be remembered?
Now, I have no idea if these bloggers are new…they always have interesting things to say and they are new to me. I nominate the following for the Liebster Award.:
3. A Dog’s Life
4. Blue Milk
10. Ellen’s OCD Blog
Your questions, should you choose to accept them, are:
- If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why?
- What do you dream about at night?
- Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?
- If you had to describe your contribution to this world as of this very minute, what would you say?
- What is your biggest fear?
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
- Beyonce or Tina Turner?
- Who inspires you?
- If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
- If you had one trait you could give the entire world, what would you give?
- Finish this sentence, “There ought to be a law_______”.