The Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching here in the United States. It’s a time when many of us think about the aspects of our lives for which we are thankful.
In the early years following my diagnosis, I wouldn’t have placed the words “thankful” and “sarcoidosis” in the same sentence. I recognize that this chronic illness is responsible for altering my life. However, at the same time, it has caused me to pause and more fully appreciate the blessings in my daily life.
Thanksgiving aside, I regularly review a gratitude list throughout the year. My list is helpful on particularly challenging days. And I’m aware of the research that suggests giving thanks can make you happier.
At the top of my list is my husband. We will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary next month. Our life hasn’t always been easy, partially because of my diagnosis. But I remain grateful that we’re still in this together. Our dog, Eli, runs a close second to my husband for the joy that he brings us.
In addition, I am grateful for the roof over our heads, which is not leaking at the moment. Household basics such as heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer make the list, too. I would be remiss not to mention other necessities such as food, clothing, and vehicles.
My list doesn’t stop there. I include my husband’s income, my freelance projects, and access to medical care.
On days when the weather is noteworthy, I might include that on my list. If I have spent time with a friend, enjoyed a walk at the lake, or scored a find at a consignment shop, I add it to the day’s list.
I realize that this list might seem basic — elementary, even — like something a young child might put together. The list I would have compiled before sarcoidosis was probably more elaborate. Like most, I yearned for more than merely the basics. But now I’m grateful for what I have. I also recognize how many people, with and without sarcoidosis, have so much less, and that knowledge makes me humble.
I have always been a down-to-earth, grounded person, not easily caught up in material things. However, since managing a chronic illness, I have become more grateful for each positive thing and person in my life.
Sarcoidosis has helped me to recognize true friends and taught me a lot about family. In addition, I have gained tremendous insight into the meaning of enjoying life’s precious moments.
Sure, on some days I would give back sarcoidosis if given the chance. I don’t think I would refuse a more expansive life, especially one that included traveling with fewer restrictions, and less discomfort and fatigue.
Yet, most days I’m content with the life that I have. Perhaps most importantly, I remain optimistic and excited about what the future holds.
However you choose to celebrate, I hope that you enjoy this Thanksgiving.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.