Now I know what all you spoonies are thinking, “I dream plenty…since I’m asleep most of the time!” And although I know it can seem like the only dreams within our grasps are the ones we have while sleeping, that simply isn’t true. If we don’t keep an optimistic vision of the future in mind, then really, what’s the point?
We have to set goals for ourselves. And no, I’m not talking about the small realistic ones we set everyday like getting out of bed or getting a bit of cleaning done. I’m talking about big goals for the future. For example, I want to be a pediatric surgeon someday. I know I will achieve this goal despite my chronic illness, and most days that dream helps me deal with my CRPS. When things seem truly hopeless and I just start crying because I know this pain will never end, I remember that I have to keep going so someday I can help someone else going through a similar problem.
And I know it’s easy for me to say. I’m young and have my whole life ahead of me, but I’ll tell you a little secret, so do you! People are always talking about how young people having their “whole lives ahead of them” as if it’s some rare privilege they wish they had. And while I recognize and appreciate the benefits of being young, EVERYONE has their whole lives ahead of them. I’ve seen a 60 year old decide to start a non-profit and change so many lives. I’ve also seen (okay, okay; read about) people waste their entire lives and not accomplish anything past living and dying.
My point is, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. So if you don’t have a dream, get one! It’s never too late. And if you’re still young like me, it is undeniably easier to just develop the habit of having big dreams now.
So dream big. Dream HUGE! Having an ultimate goal and working towards it will distract you from your illness at worst, and completely change your life at best. You can’t lose.
Although it’s cheesy: if you shoot for the moon, you’ll still land among the stars! Be a star. I dare you.
Already have a dream? Let me know with a comment below!
Original photo courtesy of Stokpic.
Music is an extremely powerful influence in many people’s lives. It is especially important for us spoonies to listen to music, recent studies show. Studies show music reduces stress and anxiety, pain, and improves the immune system! (Read more about it here.) Since all of the side effects listed usually impact a chraintim’s* life on a daily basis, listening to music is especially important.
However, it can be hard to find just the right mix of music to listen to depending on your mood or state of mind. When I am going through a particularly hard time (which usually means my pain is flaring up), listening to music can really improve my mood and how I feel about my situation. But when you are enduring that difficult time, you don’t want to be searching for just the right music and spend time compiling a playlist, right? Well that’s no longer a concern! Here I have compiled a list of my favorite songs to motivate you during tough times. (Click here for the songs all set up in a playlist on YouTube.)
In general, I don’t think most people truly believe that one person can make a real difference in the world. I do. Why? Because one person changed my life.
When you have a chronic illness, you see a lot of doctors. Most of those doctors will dismiss you, some will believe you, but very few will actively try to help you. I’ve been lucky enough to have two doctors in the last category.
The first doctor who made a difference was my ENT (ears, nose, and throat) doctor. This doctor had no reason to really put much time or attention into my case, but he did, because he realized I needed someone to care about me. The first year after my surgery was very difficult because I couldn’t get anyone to believe that I was in an unprecedented amount of pain. (Click here for my full story.) My surgeon just kept saying, “Well, you shouldn’t be in pain”, even though I kept saying, “Well, I am!” Since the pain from jaw surgery started to spread all over my face, we saw my ENT just in case my sudden onset of pain was somehow completely unrelated to the reconstructive jaw surgery I had just had.
I love this quote by showstopping comedian and actor Lily Tomlin, because people complain about a lot of things. We complain about why there isn’t more to do in our town, why there isn’t a stop sign on that dangerous street, or even just why the toilet paper isn’t in the holder! While we are in the habit of noticing all of the problems around us, we often forget we can be the solution!
Something us chraintims* are always complaining about is that the general public is grossly unaware of invisible illnesses. Because we don’t “look sick”, people don’t realize our limitations, and research to cure our currently incurable illnesses (try saying that five times fast) go unfunded! I mean, who is going to donate to research for a disease they’ve never heard of?
Now some of us do try to help fix this problem with our blogs and social media accounts. But each of us trying to raise awareness for our diseases separately is a whole lot harder than doing it together. Luckily, one fellow spoonie named Barbara Ramm decided to create a way for all of us with autoimmune diseases to raise awareness together. Barbara, and her daughter Haley (who plays Brenna on the hit ABC Family TV show Chasing Life), have started the hashtag #FightforImmunity as well as the Pillow Fight Challenge. This is similar to the ice bucket challenge, except it is a pillow fight! (This is the perfect representative challenge since most of us with autoimmune diseases spend most of our time in bed.) To do this challenge, all you have to do is film you and some friends having a pillow fight, post it on social media with the hashtag #FightforImmunity, and then challenge other friends to do the same! Check out the cast of Chasing Life doing the challenge here.
Photo credit: http://blog.joshsundquist.com/post/41278442715%5B/caption%5D
1 MT, 1 MT. This is a motto that paralympic skier, bestselling author, motivational speaker, and YouTube personality Josh Sundquist used to write on his skies to remind him to continue doing one more thing, one more time. I love this motto, and it is something that I think is especially inspirational to the spoonie/chraintim* community. In Sundquist’s words, “One more thing, one more time means doing one more thing than you feel like doing, because successful people are the ones who do one more thing than what everyone else feels like doing.” And everyone wants to be successful at something. Whether you want to be a successful student, successful at your job, or for some of us, we just want to successful at getting out of bed to take a shower. If we push ourselves to do one more thing, one more time, we can all be successful.
At this point you may be thinking, well that’s easy for this guy to say. Actually, it isn’t. Josh Sundquist got cancer and had to have his leg amputated before he was ten years old. His dream of being a professional soccer player was swiftly ended. But he didn’t let that get him down. He learned to be great at another sport, then he decided to help others overcome their struggles, then he wrote two books about his life. If you have never heard of him, please take a look at the video I’ve included in this post, and then check out the rest of his YouTube channel. He is an incredible person who is an inspiration to so many people, including myself.
*This image and article (although written by me) belongs to The Glitter Diaries. Check out this article on their amazing site here.
At first glance, this article title may seem a little ridiculous. How can I tell you not to worry about what’s going on in your life? I don’t know what’s happening with you or your family right now. You could be suffering through the hardest time in your entire life. However, no matter what the situation, it’s never healthy to worry excessively. All that will get you is anxiety and high blood pressure.
If you are going through a time in your life when you see no light at the end of the tunnel; if you are in a constant state of apprehension and distress about your situation: sit back and (at least try to) relax, and read this article about why you should worry a little less.
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the man behind the quote, Milton Berle was America’s first major television star. Being a comedian, he may have said this as a joke, but this quote has inspired me (and many others) to be proactive. This phrase has helped me in school, business, and with my pain.
You know that bite mark you see when you take a big bite out of a sandwich or a cookie? That perfect chomp that is an exact mold of your teeth? Don’t take that for granted.
I never saw my own perfect bit mark until I was 15 years old, after I healed from my first double jaw surgery. When I looked down at whatever I was eating and didn’t see a mangled curve of poorly placed teeth, I burst into to tears. Everyone was asking if I was okay, wondering if I hurt my jaw. My mouth was full, so I just pointed and mumbled, “I can fee my feef!”. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy except for my grandfather, who only has one leg due to a car accident 20 years ago. (more…)
People all over the world make all kinds of resolutions every time a new year rolls around. Most have to do with health and fitness, some with relationships, and a few are about work. What almost all new year resolutions have in common is they are a vow to DO something, which can be pretty damn hard. Actually doing what you say you will is rare and why we value people who are dependable. So this year instead of promising to do something that I won’t actually accomplish, I’m going to tell you what I’m NOT going to do. (more…)
This is another inspirational saying I try to live by. At first glance the message, “Anything can happen if you let it,” may seem confusing. However, it simply means do not stand in your own way. You could be harboring negativity that results in you not believing in yourself or a treatment that could help you. It could mean you need to reach for higher goals because you’re not letting your dreams come true by limiting yourself.
If I had decided two or three years ago that nothing could ever help me and I gave up like some of my doctors did, I wouldn’t be feeling better today. I knew, or sometimes my mother reminded me, that I had to let the possibility of anything (in this case “anything” was a cure or a fix for my chronic pain) happening be available. I couldn’t limit my possibilities, I wouldn’t, and I won’t ever. I still believe that I can be anything I want, can do anything I want, because anything can happen if I let it. (more…)