As I journey along this road of life with a chronic illness, I realize more and more that it is a journey of acceptance. There have been big things to accept, like the fact that I will never have children, and there have been small things to accept, like the fact that intense roller coasters are now off limits. There are days when it is easy, and there are days when I struggle horribly.
This summer has been a summer of acceptance for me. Accepting that my health is not what I want it to be, accepting that I can’t do everything that I want to do, accepting that some days I just don’t feel well and there’s nothing I can do about it. Hardest of all though has been accepting that I simply do not have the energy to own a horse any more. It took months of struggling to find energy to ride a few times a week, of feeling guilty for using up any energy I did have to ride, of feeling like my life was slipping from my grasp, to finally say enough. My pile of projects sat untouched, my scrapbooking supplies gathered dust, my bike filled with spiderwebs. I simply had no energy leftover. So I finally admitted what I had known for months, that it was time to find my sweet Lily a new home.
There’s no way around it, it was incredibly hard. I love that girl more than I can say and I miss her like crazy. It was the right choice, but that doesn’t make it hurt less. But choosing to sell her meant more than just giving up my horse, it meant the acceptance that once again my life has been changed by my disease. I do my best to ignore my health problems most of the time, to lose track of the bad days, but at moments like this there is no ignoring the fact that I am sick and that it is changing my life.
Accepting the losses that life with a chronic illness brings, both big and small, can be a painful process. Sometimes it’s an overwhelming pain, sometimes just a dull ache in the back of your brain. But it is also brings a strength that you never knew you had, makes you grow in ways you never would have imagined. I wish I was a normal healthy person and that I had never even heard of PNH or aplastic anemia, but if that were the case I wouldn’t have half the strength I have today, and that is worth every moment of struggle.
And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” Zachariah 13:9