After fighting a long mental fight my body ultimately won when it gave up on me and I called my parents weeping and asking them to please come get me and take me home. This period began the feelings of exhaustion and feeling like a failure. I felt guilt, sadness and at times anger. Accepting this illness is a hard thing to do, and coming to terms with the new path for life was one that only happened for me because of my relationship with God. Once I began to understand that His plan for my life is the ultimate plan and that he is in control, things started to shift. I began to see the glass half full. I realized how lucky I was to be diagnosed and to have a Doctor who is so incredibly knowledgeable. I realized that each day I fought I was moving closer to healing, and that I just needed patience (something I was not used to). I realized that people exit our lives for a reason, and that once they served their purpose they phase out, and all we can do is look back fondly on what they taught us. I realized that although it was hard to give up my independence and move home with my parents I am so utterly grateful for this time I got to spend with them. Being a teenager I took that for granted, and as adults we don't really get to spend much time with our family because of work and life being chaotic. Being in my mid-twenties and spending these years with my parents is something I will be able to cherish forever (as corny as that sounds).
These 3 years since I was diagnosed I went on a journey both physically and mentally. I matured a lot in my understanding of the world, and I don't think that would have happened if I was living my life the way I was. I am a people-pleaser and I lived by catering to other people's needs. Forcing me to move home with an illness out of my control made me stop and focus on myself. It taught me patience, it taught me to take care of my own needs, and it brought me so much closer to God. There is no way that anyone is the same person after they fight a chronic illness, because it does change you. I believe it changes people for the better, because I found a strength in myself that I did not know existed. I always saw myself as someone who was weak, and this showed me that I am so much stronger than I ever imagined. And when you realize your own inner strength it takes away a lot of the fears in the world. You look at the world and think, "there is nothing I can't handle after this." And that's exactly how I feel as I sit here today. Nothing can scare or deter me from chasing after what I want. I refuse to see these 3 years as something to be sad about because of how hard it's been. It's all in the eye of the beholder, and how you view your battle is something that can make or break you.
So I am choosing to celebrate this milestone. Often times when you are sick you feel like until you are well and healed that you don't have anything to celebrate. And that is simply not true. Getting a diagnosis is incredibly tough, so if you have one then you already won the biggest prize of them all, because it means you can get your life back. With a diagnosis in your hands you can alter your life and have symptom relief to look forward to. How amazing is that? Yes, this journey is hard. Yes, this journey is long. No this journey is certainly not easy. But now I can fight for my life because I know what I am fighting against. And that is a blessing that deserves endless amounts of celebration.
Here's to 3 years, and I will fight for as many more as it takes. This disease might try to take my body, but it can not take my soul and will to reclaim the life that it stole.