I have a friend on Facebook who has a friend on Facebook who has diabetes.
OK, I know, that is not exactly news.
But this friend of my friend (let's call her Mary because I can't remember her real name) has a blog or a website or something that my friend references from time to time and the title of the thing is "Mary has diabetes; diabetes doesn't have her."
I LOOOOOVE that!
That sentiment describes exactly how I feel about my Crohn's Disease.
I don't have misguided delusions about my chronic illness. I own my disease. It's mine and I don't try to pretend like it isn't a bother or that it isn't part of my life, but at the same time I refuse to BECOME my disease. I refuse to let everything I do be defined by this unwelcome invader. I am more than just a victim of my illness.
Now, that does not mean that I can stash Crohn's in a closet and just ignore him. I can't. He is persistent and annoying (at least) and sometimes very loud. He makes his presence known daily in my world.
OK, fine. I accept that.
I can't make him leave. Just like a nasty mole or a nervous tick we will be hanging out together for pretty much ever. Alright. I'll give him that much.
However, no matter how obnoxious he becomes (and believe me he can be rotten) I refuse to sign my life over to him. I refuse to define my days by what Crohn's will allow instead of what I want to accomplish.
That being said, I do have to make adjustments sometimes. For example, the past few days I've had special delivery joint pain from my chronic friend and it is not fun. Lifting children onto your lap, buckling small shoes, tromping up and down stairs fifty times a day, doing dishes and laundry and weeding and the like are no fun when your wrists and ankles are sharply aching.
But that's my life. I can choose to either curl up in a ball and let Crohn's Disease tell me what I can and can't do, or I can suck it up and do SOMETHING...maybe not everything I planned -- in fact maybe only a small portion of the things I planned...but something, none the less.
And then I can glory in having accomplished that thing, whatever it is. I get to thumb my nose and internally scream, "Stick it to you, Crohn's Disease! You don't own me!"
I met someone recently who lives every day inside the cloud of a chronic condition. It is a sad and miserable thing to watch. Nothing can survive because this girl has decided that everything in her life revolves around her disease. She has given every ounce of her power over the this illness. She has become her condition.
Yes, chronic illnesses suck (not a word I use lightly, it's a potty word here at our house). But guess what, being controlled by a disease sucks more. So don't do it.
And that applies to much more than just medical conditions. I don't know what your chronic issue is. Whoever you are, there is something in your life that assaults you and tries to break you down and wants you to give in. Don't let it win!
Yes, it is a daily battle. Yes, some days the fight is harder than others. Yes, some days you feel like you just can't do it anymore.
So breathe. Take a moment to find center. And then do one thing. And then do one more thing. And then one more. And maybe you can only get four things accomplished that day. Or maybe you can get forty things checked off your list. But either way, you win. Sometimes a win looks like a day when you were incredible and accomplished everything and sometimes it looks like day where you could barely find the strength to stand but you chose to get up and get the dishes done and read a couple stories to little ones and that's about it.
Glory in the moment and then get ready for the battle tomorrow. Your issue cannot break you without your permission, so don't give it.
Life rarely looks like what we expected when we started out. It's surprising and intriguing and fabulous and sometimes painful and depressing and difficult. But it is also beautiful and powerful if we take hold and choose not to be a victim of our fate, whatever that fate may be. Don't let a problem define you.
I am more than Crohn's Disease.