The holidays are upon us, and like so many people, I have a lot to be thankful for.
I was recuperating from lengthy hospital stays during the holidays the past two years. This year, however, is different. For the first time in two years, I can enjoy the holidays with family and friends and not worry so much about my health.
I’m still concerned about my health, but I’m choosing to enjoy the holidays this year. Who knows what next year has to offer? I’m taking advantage of the good times now. I’m celebrating the end of the decade.
At one point, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to enjoy the season fully. Holiday commercials were airing during Halloween, and the bombardment of advertising takes the joy out of focusing on gratitude.
It wasn’t long ago
I was released from the hospital around September of last year. I tried to return to a sense of normalcy, but it was hard to focus on my mental health after spending so much time in the hospital. I made a point to track my progress by acknowledging the things I could do and the challenges I overcame.
Needing to use oxygen is a consequence of pulmonary sarcoidosis. I was tethered to an in-home concentrator while I recuperated. Initially, it was awkward because of the hoses, but my family and I grew used to it. It became something of a joke.
I was exceedingly thankful to be home with my immediate family and close friends. Two months earlier, my prognosis was looking sketchy because of subcutaneous emphysema. I was intubated in the hospital. They secured my hands to the bed to prevent me from removing the tube.
My wife set a small whiteboard and marker next to my hand so I could write messages. It was difficult to write, but for the most part, my notes were short and fairly easy to read. I remember thanking my family for allowing me to be a part of their lives. One of the nurses saw the message and said that I’d be able to tell them myself soon enough. She continued to reassure me that everything was going to work out. I just had to remain patient.
I think her small gesture accelerated my recovery. You never realize that the simplest act of kindness can do wonders for a person.
It’s the little things in life
After that experience, I made a point to not only be thankful for everything in my life — the good and the bad — but grateful as well. I appreciate this adventure. Despite my sarcoidosis, and despite needing to use oxygen from time to time, I’m grateful that my family has stayed by my side. I’m grateful that I’ve gone an entire year without being hospitalized (knock on wood). I’m grateful for the friends I still have, the friends I lost along the way, and the friends I regained.
Until you reach deep inside yourself to find gratitude for everything (including the obstacles), it’s easy to take people and situations for granted. We should focus on being thankful for everything in our lives — things we celebrate and things we don’t — throughout all seasons.
As I often say, “Every day is a new adventure.” Why not start by being thankful for your daily adventure and grateful that you have a purpose in life? You never know what gifts you’re able to share until they’re required of you.
Share what you’re thankful for. It can make a meaningful difference.
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.