You might be wondering how I could be grateful for Crohn’s Disease? Just a few years ago I would have thought this was odd, too. Being grateful for an auto-immune disease? Yeah, right. I would rather be healthy and not have any problems at all.
Now I know how incredibly lucky I am to have Crohn’s Disease. The struggles and resulting lessons have shaped me into the person I am proud to be. I could not imagine a life without it.
I am grateful for finding my warrior side.
I remember being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I was 15 years old sitting in the doctor’s office with my parents when the doctor told us. I started to cry and shake. What does this mean? Year after year I was in and out of the hospital. While my sisters were carefree teenagers, I was getting IVs, going on and off steroids, and worrying when my next flare-up would be. Every time I would break down, I wished I was stronger. I didn’t realize that I was already braver and stronger than most people my age. I was enduring and overcoming a lifetime of struggles in a few short years. This realization was empowering. This is when my warrior side came out and it wasn’t going anywhere. I realized I can get through anything, health-related or not, because Crohn’s Disease has released my warrior side.
I am grateful for the incredible mind-body awareness I have cultivated.
When you’re dealing with any chronic issue you are super in tune with your body. You have to be aware of any changes or symptoms that could be concerning. With Crohn’s Disease, you know exactly when you’ve eaten something that doesn’t sit well or when stress is affecting your disease. Many people do not have this ability. I can not tell you how many friends and family members complain of a headache or constipation and have no idea why it is happening. They don’t remember what they ate and when I ask them if they are stressed, they deny any emotional issues. Crohn’s Disease has given me an incredible mind-body awareness that I would never give up.
I am grateful for the compassion and understanding I have towards others.
When you have dealt with a health issue you understand all the feelings that come with it. I can truly feel what other people are feeling because I have been there. This has allowed me to help family and friends who are dealing with struggles. What I have found is the more compassion I have towards others, the happier I am. This has made me a better partner, sister, daughter, coworker, and stranger.
I am grateful for my healthy diet.
I never would have made changes to my diet if it wasn’t for Crohn’s Disease. These diet changes have significantly benefited my disease and mental health. I am grateful for my healthy diet because I know it will help all aspects of my life today and as I grow older.
I am grateful for finding yoga.
So much gratitude for yoga! For so long I wasn’t able to keep a regular exercise routine. I was either dealing with a flare-up or recovering from one. I remember driving home from work 2 years ago telling myself I was finally ready to start exercising again. I hadn’t had a flare-up for a few months and my body felt strong. I wanted to keep the health kick going, so I drove to a random yoga studio and the rest is history. The practice continues to transform my life in ways I never thought possible. I thank Crohn’s Disease for opening myself up for the transformation.
I am grateful for learning to never take my health for granted.
For years I prayed to be cured. I thought that maybe one day I would wake up and not have Crohn’s Disease anymore. During flare-ups, I would complain. During remission, I would complain. Finally I realized that it can always be worse. There is always someone dealing with something worse. I am lucky to only have Crohn’s Disease.
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