Putting together this list has actually been quite cathartic and forced me to take a moment and count my blessing. It’s too easy to get bogged down mentally with all the negatives and hardships that come with living with CKD- chronic kidney disease. I hope this will inspire you take inventory of your life and see that even on a cloudy day there is beauty to be found… you just have to look for it!
Now to round out the 10 BEST THINGS ABOUT LIVING WITH A CHRONIC ILLNESS…
6. New view on life – I am happier now than I ever was before. Which is a (happy) surprise. Something always felt missing from my life when I was a teenager and while I could never quite put my finger on it getting sick changed all of that. After the countless surgeries and some pretty big health scares – hello no kidneys, cancer, internal bleeding, etc- I now appreciate everyday. Each day I wake up is fresh start. Even if it’s a bad and I can’t manage to get out of bed, I still have that day. It’s a chance for me take care of myself. If that means resting all day or working out, or now even writing, whatever I am able to accomplish I try to see as a win.
7. Self-Care – I’ve been forced into a situation where if I didn’t take care of myself and make my health (physical & mental) a priority I would fall apart. I have to watch my diet, my activity level, who I spend my time with and give my limited energy to. My resources are scarce so I have to be extra careful with how I allocate them. This has helped me eliminate negative energy from my life, and stick close to those who make me smile and provide a general sense of ease and comfort to my life. Great trick for everyone if you ask me.
8. Free time – The biggest benefit of being on dialysis, sick and unable to work is I have a lot of free time. I don’t know that’s it’s all necessarily free since I’m actively trying to keep myself healthy and my spoons replenished. Some days I’m able to help more around the house, get a workout in to stay feeling strong and energized. But on days when I can’t manage to leave the house I am able to binge watch my shows, or I can throw myself into a new book and make my way through my new pile of new book… I seem to buy new books faster than I can read them and that pile keeps getting bigger by the day (HI – my name is Bridget and I’m a addicted to books).
Side note: If you have any books you’d recommend- wellness, health, fictions, history- send some suggestions my way!
Having this free time has also provided me with a unique opportunity to visit friends and see their everyday life. Normally, I would be working and just as busy and frantic as everyone else. I’d never get the opportunity to pop up and visit a friend mid-week. see what their daily life is like. It’s a rare opportunity as an adult to to have the time to connect on this deeper level with long time friends who’d I’d rarely see otherwise.
9. Naps – Everyone knows that naps are THE best. If you don’t realize this I don’t know that we can be friends. Haha. Being chronically ill lets me take soo many naps. I mean – yes, I obviously wish I had the energy to go a full day without rest – but naps are awesome… so I’m not complaining.
10. Connecting with People – To round out the list I couldn’t help but including the newest benefit I have found. Sharing my story has already allowed me to connect with people on a deeper level. When I was dating it was always a difficult subject to navigate. Oh what do you do for work – ummmm, manage my health and dialysis. Then we launch into my whole back story. I always try to give the cliff’s notes version since my medical history reads like a Tolstoy novel. Looooooooooong and boring (no offense to those War & Peace fans out there). But by sharing this part of me I have found people will just open up to me about what they are struggling with. This may be the best thing because I actually get to see and hear about what others are going through. Once they see I can open up to them they do the same. We are able to really see each other and appreciate that we are not alone. We all struggle, we all battle with our demons, we all have work, family & friend issues and if we would just open up and share these with each other we would see each other for the beautiful flawed humans we are.