Strawberries

Why I No Longer Take The Little Things In My Life For Granted

I recently watched Introducing, Selma Blair on Discovery+. Even though we do not have the same chronic illness, the story of her multiple sclerosis diagnosis and life with it resonated deeply.

Many scenes brought me to tears. Mainly because of what Selma was experiencing and my own life experiences with psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, endometriosis, and fibromyalgia, I could relate to her feelings. There was one scene in particular that made me giggle. It wasn’t that Selma was necessarily being funny, but that I, too, had felt that kind of joy.

The scene I am talking about is when she is in the kitchen cutting strawberries. She was giddy over the revelation that her treatment returned her ability to hold and cut a strawberry!

Chronic illnesses take so much from us

One of the first debilitating symptoms I experienced with psoriatic arthritis was painful swelling in my fingers. I couldn’t hold a fork or pen; instead, I gripped them with all of my fingers. Unfortunately, nothing my doctors prescribed helped.

Ten years later, I changed my entire treatment plan. What happened next provided me with the same joy Selma felt while cutting strawberries. The inflammation in my hands significantly decreased. For the first time in over a decade, I could make a fist! But more importantly, I was able to hold a fork and pen just like everyone else!

Debilitating chronic illnesses take so much from us. While the ability to cut fruit or hold a fork may not seem big to some people, it is a huge deal for people like Selma and myself.

They are all worthy of excitement

Like many other people with psoriatic arthritis, I have a cluster of chronic conditions. When one goes off the rails, the others follow suit no matter how great my treatment plan is. My abilities and limitations change all of the time. Because of this, I have learned to appreciate what I can do when I can do it.

Things like not needing physical assistance to get out of bed, take a shower, or get dressed are big deals for me at the moment.

Selma’s documentary reminded me to enjoy the small things. That joyful moments do not need to last for more than a few minutes. It doesn’t matter if the little thing is something that has been returned to us or that we have been able to continue doing. They are all worthy of excitement.

What are some little things that you no longer take for granted?

In my 20 years of being chronically ill, I have learned to find joy in everything I can do. It doesn’t matter whether I can take five steps or walk five miles. One of my conditions has currently limited my ability to drive.

Let me tell you, I am thrilled with whatever distance I can go without the outing ending in severe pain. They are both worth giving thanks for.

Finding joy in little things won’t magically turn life with chronic illness and pain into a fairytale, but it will add some glitter.

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