Joy Over Despair
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Health and Wellness

Joy Over Despair

How my chronic illness has taught me compassion, love, and perseverance

Joy Over Despair

From everything I've seen on the internet, discussing chronic illness is touchy and often uncomfortable. I find that, personally, I tend to avoid reading online blogs about peoples' chronic illnesses because they have a tendency to be whiney, hopeless, and full of despair. Now, hear me out, I'm not saying this to diminish the pain and suffering that many fellow "spoonies" experience. I know how bad it can be because I have a chronic illness myself. However, if I could get a do-over for my entire life, I know for a fact that I would outright refuse. I am so blessed because of my illness.

Let me just give a little bit of background on what I have and what it means. I have something called Partial Immunoglobulin A Deficiency, also known as IgAD. IgAD is one of about 300 Primary Immunodeficiencies or PI's. Unlike AIDS and HIV, PI's are caused by mutations to the genes that regulate different aspects of the immune system. My form of PI is caused by a defect to the B cells, which are produced in the bone marrow. My B cells can't produce fully mature IgA. As a result, I tend to get a lot of upper and lower respiratory illnesses; it's harder for me to get fevers, because fevers are an immune reaction; I have asthma. It can be difficult for me to gain and keep weight. Granted this is a very basic overview of my experience with IgAD, but hopefully it put some things in perspective, and simplify something that's already very difficult to understand.

Now, any reasonable person would probably think, given all the information I just provided you with, how could I be so joyful about life? I'll tell you why: my chronic illness has inspired me to celebrate every moment, and it's pushed me harder to overcome odds and give myself goals, particularly in regards to fitness and health, that at times, may seem ridiculous to even a person without a chronic illness.

When it comes to fitness, I love dancing, and there's nothing like the rush of performing on the field or stage for a cheering crowd. Freshman year of college, I was rather sick, but when I saw the notice for cheer tryouts, I refused to pass up the opportunity. The weekend of tryouts I was on the verge of a severe asthma attack, though thank goodness I was able to prevent it from happening, but I refused to let it stop me.

I took my medication, kept a positive attitude, and went forward. Though I certainly was not the best dancer there, I fought on, and was lucky enough to make it on the team. I give not a small amount of credit to my IgAD for helping me get on the team. It drove me, that weekend, to prove it, the school, and myself wrong.

Having a chronic illness has also taught me to enjoy the simple things in life. There have been many hours, days, and weeks where I've been confined either to my bed, my room, or my house. I realized early on that I could spend all my time bored and wallowing in my misery, or I could spend these moments in a productive way. Because of this, I've learned to look out my window, and witness the beauty of God's creation. From the bright sunshine, to the cooing of the dove, to the rain pattering on my windowsill, I find it all spectacularly beautiful.

I see every day as an adventure, every moment as a blessing, and I hear every song as a symphony. I know the going can get tough, I've been there more times than I can count, but I also know that this world is so amazing, the future is so bright, and this life is a gift from the Almighty.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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