Lucky, Actually

While it’s a total cliché to “give thanks” today on Thanksgiving, I’ve always found it important to acknowledge and share gratitude. So what better day than today. 2011 has been one of the worst years of my life. So I’ll start by thanking God, for crapping on me this year. Just kidding! I’ve finally begun to understand why what happened this year happened, and I’m starting to accept that I am exactly where I need to be. Would I have chosen this? No. But I have to think that means something greater than me is at work, and I need to embrace that.

One of the biggest thanks I can give this year is to my family, starting with my mom and stepdad. On that awful day in January when I was too weak to walk to the bathroom, my Mom and Marc raced over as soon as I called. They sat with me in the crowded E.R. as I tried to turn my wheelchair into a makeshift bed. Marc took Monty and played on the levee behind the hospital while my mom stayed with me, for the whole 10 hours we were there. Since then, I, at 27, have moved back in with my parents. It’s not exactly ideal but what I finally realized is, Thank God they took me in. I was at a point where I was absolutely unable to care for myself. They basically just “scooted over” and let me climb on board, never making me feel like a burden. That’s love. And that’s something to be grateful for. Two weeks after “the crash”, my sister Amelie flew in from California. She “extreme home makeover’d” my apartment, stocked my pantry and fridge with healthy food, found a massage therapist and bought me 10 sessions, researched homeopathic doctors, and cooked meals for me while she was here. The most beautiful part of that act of kindness was that I didn’t even ask her to do any of it. She did it all on her own. Her ability to anticipate needs and never wait to be asked for help has always impressed me. Since then, over and over people have shown their love and support in different ways. My aunt and grandma sent money to help pay for my doctor in Miami, which doesn’t take insurance. (Not that I have insurance anymore anyway. Because why would they give insurance to a sick person who actually needs it? Oh wait…) My brother and sister-in-law let me crash on their couch in New York City for a month and lay around and write. I became their self-appointed sick, adopted child. That was kewl. Gabe let me live at his house in Nola for free while taking classes in the city. Kaitlin gave me a bag of the movies we find funniest to cheer me up while in a sickly depression. In big and small ways, a lot of people stepped in. I’m lucky.

There is plenty to be grateful for, even in the midst of hardship. In fact sometimes it is in those dark times that we are able to see real reason for gratitude that perhaps we’d skipped over before. Truthfully this year has kicked my ass, beginning literally on January 1st. Upon losing my health, I lost my job, a relationship, my apartment, and perhaps most painfully, my independence. But what I have begun to gain is perspective. A reason to dig deeper, wade through the crap, and find purpose. I’ve got a long way to go. A long way.  But I’ve got a roof over my head, food on the table, and the priceless gift of unconditional love. That means I’m not alone at the end of the day. And that’s what I’m most grateful for.

Health and Happiness and Happy T-giving!

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17 thoughts on “Lucky, Actually

  1. I’ve just found your blog, and am really enjoying reading it. I too have Fibromyalgia – and having just been diagnosed in the later part of this year (after spending much of the year in seemingly unexplainable pain, fatigue… you get the picture), I’ve also been reflecting on things to be grateful for in what seems to be a pretty terrible year overall. I think that one thing FM (or other chronic conditions I suppose) does is allow you to be grateful when you are able to do things, enjoy things, etc. At least that’s the way it has been for me – I find that when I feel “well” enough to do something for myself, even the most mundane thing, I can be grateful for that moment. Thanks for your excellent post on this topic, it is so inspiring to read your work.

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  2. Beautifully said. I just read three posts on your blog and im already a huge fan. Nomatter what happens we always have something to be thankful for and sometimes its just having people that will be there no matter what (family). Keep writing! Wish you the best in the new year :)

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  3. Honey, this is happening to you because you’re supposed to be a writer, not a nurse, and this is but one example of G-d being in the driver’s seat. So just accept it. Like OMG, you may already have an agent while most people have to scrounge around for one. Your writing has a way of making people laugh and cry, and I believe that this is what you were meant to do. Good luck, and hope you get better.

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  4. What Zeina said.

    I’m sorry you’ve had so much shit in your life already — it’s a big pile for someone who’s only 27. Having been through some lousy stuff in my life around that age as well, (I’m now 54 and life is good), it all adds up to making you — as you already are — funny, smart, wise, compassionate and appreciative of the good stuff far beyond your years. I suspect you’ll be a kick-ass nurse because you’ll know, viscerally, how crappy it feels to be in pain and scared and out of work and anxious.

    Compassion is an under-rated and precious quality. I also think it is hard-won.

    Good luck!

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  5. This is so well written and hits close to home – it actually brings tears to my eyes. (we don’t have to tell anyone that.) :)

    I wrote a post recently talking about how being diagnosed with CFS is like being an invisible patient. It’s so fantastic that you have such a wonderful family and support system – that can make all the difference! Please keep writing about this. It is a true inspiration…

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  6. herm… sorry to be all “ooh hai i just found ur blog now im gonna comment on EVERY SINGLE POST NOW k.”

    I was also very lucky to have my parents bail me out a couple years ago when the combo of meds making me reckless with my body and a bad flare had me unemployable and more or less housebound with the bad hurties. I see that you are in nursing school; do people every say dumb shit like “depr oh well this will make you such a great healthcare practitioner once day durrr.” I get a lot of well-meaning classmates/teachers at my acupuncture school who tell me “oh I’m so sorry you had a bad reaction to a medication your md put you on cos they were too lazy to read your chart for contraindications and you got hospitalized for a week AT THE STATE LOONEY BIN OOPS but HEY ISNT THIS JUST THE NEATEST LEARNING EXPERIENCE” and then I want to punch them. but then again, I’m treating some chronic pain patients now and man. we all have these crazy stories. the shit never stops. Sisyphus has nothing on us. and universally we are some tough bitches.

    love your blog, lady. and I love Weezy F Baby, too.

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