9 Things to Appreciate About a Sick Body

Appreciation.  If I had to choose something positive about all of this health crap, it would be gaining appreciation.

This is my 100th post to this blog.  It’s amazing to me that in less than four months I have written 100 posts.  How did that happen?  This started as a place to vent about frustrations and irritations.  I still do that, but I find that I’ve been branching out.  And today I want to branch into appreciation.

We all take things for granted.  I’m not suggesting that I appreciate everything I have and everything I can do.  I wish I did, but that’s just not realistic.  Still, there are so many things that I do appreciate about my body.  I’m going to share a few (but there are many more) with you in no particular order.  I hope this helps you to think of some of your own.  Feel free to add yours in the comments to inspire others.

  1. Sleep.  I don’t get as much as I’d like, but at least I get some.  The meds only disturb my sleep a little, and I can sleep through the pain most nights.  I’m so grateful for that.
  2. The ability to walk.  Some days I can’t walk, or walking is incredibly painful.  I definitely appreciate walking when I can do it.
  3. My knees.  Saying this always makes me think of this song (at 2 min, 20 sec).  I first heard this song early in college.  I thought I appreciated my knees back then.  I was wrong.  Little did I know that before I graduated my knees would be the source of a lot of pain.  Now, I’m so thrilled when they don’t hurt.
  4. Mild nausea.  This may sound odd, but it’s true.  I have had IBS since I was a teenager, but I had symptoms for many years before it was diagnosed and for many more before I got a handle on it.  I still have symptoms, but they’re not as severe as they used to be.  Now, when I have mild nausea or other symptoms, I’m incredibly glad that it’s not as bad as it used to be.
  5. My mental abilities.  There are times when I can’t think clearly because of a lack of sleep or because of medications or for some unknown reasons.  Most of the time, I can think clearly, and I am very thankful for that.
  6. Making dinner.  There have been times the fatigue was so bad that I couldn’t bring myself to make a meal, or even to boil water for pasta.  I live alone, so this means I don’t eat.  Now I’m so appreciative when I am able to make something, especially when it’s more advance than Ramen.
  7. Going to the gym.  I was never one of those people who enjoyed exercise.  Still, I was able to exercise back before things got bad.  Then for years I couldn’t do much at all.  My physical therapist even told me not to go to the gym because I was too likely to injure myself.  After a lot of PT, I was finally given permission to go.  I can only do a few types of weights and at very low settings, and only short amounts of time on the cardio machines and at low settings, but at least I can do it!
  8. Standing on the T.  There are times that I simply can’t stand on the T (our subway.)  If I’m in too much pain or I’m not balancing well then I need to ask someone to give me their seat.  When I’m able to stand, though, I’m just very glad that I’m able to do it.
  9. Lack of pain.  I have pain in some part of my body at some point every day.  There was a time, though, that I was in pain every second of every minute of every day of every year.  It lasted 9 years.  After a while, I forgot what it felt like to not be in pain, and this upset me more than the pain itself.  My biggest wish was to have just a few minutes without pain, just so I could experience it once more.  Then I tried a disease modifying drug and it worked; the pain went away.  No, the pain didn’t go away completely, but it did disappear for short periods of time.  Now I have minutes without pain, and hours where the pain is low enough that I can ignore it.  I can’t tell you what an amazing gift this is.  I could almost cry right now thinking about it.  The unending pain may come back one day, or maybe it won’t, but at least I’ll have had a chance to appreciate how amazing it is to not feel any pain, even if it’s only for minutes at a time.
Did you notice a pattern?  Each thing I listed is something I can do/don’t have today but that I couldn’t do/did have at some point in the past.  These are actions I can take or symptoms I no longer have.  I appreciate them because I know how it feels to not have these abilities or to have the additional symptoms.  Does this mean I’m healthy and symptom-free?  No, of course not.  And yes, there are days that I wallow in the misery of it all.  But I do try and remember all the good things that I’ve got right now.  I think it’s important to appreciate as much as possible while I’ve got it.
So what do you appreciate about your body?  Write down 5 things right now, and reread them at least once a day to remember what you’ve got.  After all, it couldn’t hurt, right?  And it may just help.

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4 Responses to 9 Things to Appreciate About a Sick Body

  1. Karen J says:

    I know this is an old post, but still ~ Hurray, CR, for recognizing all those points to *Appreciate*! Hugs!

    ~ and thank you for the reminder that it’s easier to find those Bright Spots when you’ve experienced Not Seeing or Feeling or even Having them!
    My class this evening with Ariane Benefit (AgiliZen) was all about “Embracing Opposition” – and one of her primary points was exactly that to not have anything to push against means you can’t grow.

    • chronicrants says:

      Thanks Karen! And I’m glad to hear you’re finding ways to appreciate your situation, too.

      • Gaby says:

        This is such an amazing post. I cannot tell you how often people forget to be thankful for the little and the big things in their lives! Particularly when we are struggling to overcome a hardship it is so important to demonstrate gratitude!

        Even though this is an older post. I was thinking that this would be the perfect submission for USC’s Gratitude Blog Carnival. All you’d have to do to “submit” would be to add the badge to your page. You should really check it out: http://bit.ly/18dYmlT

        Thanks for inspiring me today!

      • chronicrants says:

        Thanks Gaby! I’ll definitely check out that link. And thanks for your support 🙂

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