Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Illumination of Gratitude

To be humbly grateful for every moment, relationship, and breath both past and present, while still holding out hope for all the greatness yet to come, is something I will forever strive to embody and illuminate.

In the darkest and most difficult of days, the glow of gratitude that burns within can seem as if it grows dimmer with each setback, each realization that I am not in control, and each panic stricken gasp for air. To say these past few weeks have been difficult, incredibly emotional, and frustrating would be an understatement.

A Stranger
I am a mess of emotion.  I have found it harder and harder to keep my emotions in check, to paint a stoic, strong, and graceful fa├žade on the for world, and to hide my own growing disappointment in myself and my lack of control over CF.   Never once have I ever felt that CF has had control over me. Never has CF threatened to dampen the glow of life from within, never have I felt it has threatened to get the best of me.  Until today.  CF is relentlessly attacking my body and mind.  My body aches with every breath, cough, and movement as if every rib and muscle is bruised beyond beating.  Not to mention the beating my body has been taking from antibiotics and medications coursing through my veins.  The worst part of it all isn't the battle raging within my body, it's the battle raging within my mind: feeling like a complete stranger and prisoner in my own skin.

In the last week there has been a new PICC line placed, signs eluding to liver damage, the severe side effects of a brutal new drug, the evaluation and stopping of most antibiotics because of stress on my liver, increased exhaustion, low Blood Saturation levels, and continued low lung function that forbids to give me any reprieve.  I can't help but ruminate over what I did wrong, where I took a misstep, or how I could have allowed CF to take such control over me when mere months ago I was feeling the best I have in years.

Amidst it all, I still am filled with so much gratitude.  I am grateful for any level of normalcy that distracts me from the reality of CF, anything that makes me momentarily forget:  grad school, friends, teaching, travel, living for the hope that tomorrow is a new day.  I will awake with the hope that I will sing again, that I will drink in air without thought, that I will climb the stairs without every muscle burning, or my body betraying me.  Through the best of days and the hardest of days I will always be grateful.  I will smile through the tears,

Through the mess of emotion there still burns a steadfast glow of gratitude from deep within.  That light can never be extinguished no matter what CF throws at me.  In the most difficult of moments, the smallest ounce of light will always pierce the darkness.

My life is rooted in the endless gratitude I have for each of you.  I am grateful for every single beautiful breath, no matter how deep.  For every endearing word of love and support.  For every meaningful hug that is held for just an extra moment.  For my CF team who means more than they'll ever know.  For my friends and family who tirelessly fight beside me.  For Mark and his unyielding commitment to being strong for me.  For each person who believes in my future.  For each beautiful moment that has made up my amazing life thus far.  With great love and thanks to you all.

Let your life be illuminated by gratitude.  What are you grateful for?

1 comment:

  1. I am grateful for you, Ash! I always tell people of your strength and determination- how those are traits I can never come close to! Lean on us when you need us. We are here! Love you!