This is a Gift

I spoke to a friend of mine tonight who is about to undergo surgery for a detached retina. Now, this surgery and the whole circumstance sucks in a million ways. First of all, your vision is at stake. Secondly, you’re essentially bedridden for possibly a month (already she’s had to hold one position on the couch for a week as they tried to have a gas bubble push her eye back into place).

But talking to her tonight, she was so positive it was inspiring. Yes, she is scared to go into surgery and frustrated at her “bad luck” of randomly getting a detached retina, but she’s also strong and optimistic. She said that she was looking at this as a lesson, that maybe she should be less wrapped up in the petty things. That maybe there was a lot she could learn from this experience.

She also caught me off-guard by apologizing for not being more there for me during the last couple months. That having this happen has made her truly realize how hard it is. I didn’t feel like she owes me an apology, but I do understand what she means. I can absolutely empathize with what she’s going through.

This conversation made me take stock of the emotional rollercoaster I’d been through since my diagnosis (and even before!) and how my own priorities had changed. I’d like to say that having a chronic disease means I never sweat the small stuff, but of course that isn’t true. What is true is that I appreciate the little things in a way I don’t know if I have before. The spring flowers coming up. A pain-free downward dog. Stumbling across a really good cupcake that fits my new gluten-free diet (more on that in another post). And it really makes me appreciate the bigger things. Like the days I go for a run. A really good laugh. A truly supportive friend. My family.

It’s not like I never throw myself a pity party (believe me, I can throw a pretty good pity party), but I’d like to say that the strong me outweighs the weak one. And I’d like to think there’s a lessons I’ve learned, and lessons yet to be learned from this whole experience.

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