I have a lot of reasons I could sit here wallowing in my misery. There have been so many horrible, life-altering, soul-crushingly BAD things that have happened to me, at me, around me.
Sometimes, I do wallow. Not often (or at least, I try to restrict my wallowing to as infrequent an occasion as possible).
One of the glorious things about the modern world is we can connect with people we've never laid eyes on, and likely never will. We can know someone's life as deeply as they're willing to share. We can reach out, and be the recipient of the reaching.
I have lymphedema. It is a completely craptastic, gross, and scary disease. Recently, I've joined a couple of online groups where others in this same bandage-laden boat can support one another and just vent, or at the very least, hang out for a bit in the company of those who "get it."
What I've gotten is the very abrupt realization that I am blessed. Abundantly.
Not because I have this infuriating condition, of course-- but because I DO have the means (and the insurance coverage, thank you GOD!) to tackle it head-on.
I've read stories from people, just like me, who are completely incapacitated by their lymphedema. Dangerously infected, immobile, bed-bound, unable to find clothing that accommodates their swelling and/or the bandages required to treat it.
People who can't even take a shower without an extended preemptive routine to keep the bandaging dry.
And ya know what? I. Am. BLESSED.
I can bandage my legs without assistance. At the present time I do not have any drainage or fissures in the skin, so I am *only* dealing with compression garments during the day.
I can shower. Whenever I want. (Though, likely not without a little voice calling out, entering the bathroom and demanding to know why I'm all wet. But that's OK too.)
There's a family in New York-- the Bonds-- who are currently facing a road I can't even imagine. Both the husband and wife are battling cancer. At the same time.
And, they have a toddler.
My heart ACHES for them, for the plans they had for life that cancer so rudely tossed in the shredder. Their determination to be there for each other, and their love for that little girl is so real and so true and so... just... just *so.*
Read their blog. Pray for their recovery, or at least send them good vibes because the universe needs more of that.
I am BLESSED that although my body rebels in numerous ways, I still have some semblance of health. I can still walk and talk and run after my child (for a few steps anyway).
I am BLESSED to have the little girl I dreamed of, forever. If I could have custom-ordered my daughter, she'd be exactly who she actually is. I marvel at that daily.
I am BLESSED to have the love of a wonderful man, who thinks I am beautiful even when I am scrubbing the tub and/or plugged into a compression pump for my lymphedema and can't move for an hour.
I am BLESSED by friends whose love and humor and strength and support give me that last burst of wind in the drooping sails, to help me cowboy up and rock on wif mah bad self.
I am BLESSED because I am alive. My life is not perfect--never will be-- and that's OK.
Because JOY is a choice. LOVE is choice. LIVING is a choice. You can dwell on the crap or you can look to your blessings.
Take realistic stock of your surroundings. Chances are, the blessings outnumber the crap, if you can shift your focus to see them first.