Why Am I Grateful?

I decided to do my gratitude list a little differently today.  I want to look a little more closely at why I’m grateful.

I know, I know — I am grateful to everyone who does something for me, or who fills a certain niche in my life or who wishes me good will.  And I am — don’t mistake that:  I am grateful for all of the amazing people around me who give so selflessly of their love, friendship, strength, driving skills, humor, and insight into the workings of my soul.  I am grateful that I am well enough to write this, when I remember well so many times I might not have been so lucky, or so blessed, or strong enough not to cross over.

But I am also grateful that I have developed chronic kidney disease, (I use the word disease very guardedly, because my mind is more open to being influenced by that kind of word than I ever wanted it to be,) because, without the scare of the result of that condition, I seriously doubt that I would be keeping a good log and eating the right foods, and minding my blood sugars.  I never did before, for longer than a few months at a time, and I could see myself walking down the candy bar path, directly into terminal diabetic troubles.

My kidney situation is an example of something that, had I not developed it, I wouldn’t have wanted.  But the lessons are simple and clear — every day I keep my blood sugars near my target of 150, I am adding on a couple of hours to an extra day.  That’s reason to be grateful.

My encounter with my dermatologist is another type of negative experience to which I’m grateful.  I have not, for a very long time, met with a doctor who completely ignored me, and then blamed my psyche for her misunderstanding.  I’m grateful for that, because, had I gone to a dermatologist in the small world of Morgellan’s syndrome, I would not know of some the tough issues which need  my examination.  My psyche IS part of the problem — I tear my skin on a regular basis, one function of Obsessive/Compulsive disorder.  I would never have sought help for that; me, OCD?  No way.

I will see a psychiatrist in a couple of weeks for that part of the problem.  I should have been prepared, however, for the disbelief of the doctor — current literature tells me that something like 95% of doctors refuse to believe the condition exists.  (Don’t click this link if you have a weak stomach.)  Link here to see some very graphic photos from Morgellan’s sufferers.  Morgellon’s syndrome, and my doctors’ reactions to it, give me a reason for gratitude — gone are my last notions that doctors’ advice and diagnosis is always right.  Also gone is my belief that, if I tell the truth, people will always believe me; that was an unreasonable belief from the start, and I am well rid of it.

I know, finally, what people have said my whole life, that all experiences are lessons.  And I’m still alive and kicking; I didn’t let the doctor’s attitude slay me, as it would have before.  I am grateful for all the lessons, people, ideas in my life.  This is a curriculum I can’t duck, and I hope I’ve learned enough not to want to!


4 responses to “Why Am I Grateful?

  1. I really enjoy that you do these each week. It makes me reflect on what I’m grateful for, and I also enjoy seeing you keeping yourself positive and focusing on what you have versus what you don’t.


  2. Your gratitude list really got me to thinking for the second time today about what I am grateful for and why. This morning during my quiet time with God, I tried to be complete in my gratitude list, but after reading your post, I felt ashamed of myself, for I had left out so many things that have impacted my life in a positive way through negative-seeming ways.

    Being on dialysis and becoming part of a huge community has always, since the beginning been something I have been grateful for because when I was in the hospital, I had a divine knowing that God was going to use this condition or disease to enrich my life and give me a mission. He was going to use me to show others that a productive life could be lived happily on dialysis. It is not the death sentence it was just over 40 years ago. Thank God we have dialysis now; a process by which our blood is cleaned by a machine and returned to our bodies to give us more time to live and do the things we have always liked to do. Maybe we are a little slower because of the anemia that comes because the kidneys are not functioning as well or not at all anymore. God never intended for us to have to have two large needles inserted into our arm to draw our blood out and replace it with almost toxin-free fresh blood, but He allowed science to come up with at least this solution for right now to extend life and joy in living.

    I am so grateful for my caretaker, who buys the groceries for the diet that helps to keep me healthy and cooks the meals I eat to keep my labs perfect every month they have been drawn since beginning dialysis.

    My gratitude includes you, Judith, because I feel that you have been placed in my path for us to help each other with our journey and a lot of similar other things in common I’m finding we have. So right now, I want to thank Him for sending me you and I want to be as available to you as anybody can for as long as you need a true friend who shares a lot more with you than I first thought.

    • Harriet, my dear, that was the nicest thing anyone’s written in a while. I hate that you are on dialysis, but I am so happy that you have help and support from your caregivers and the dialysis community. Your openness is very refreshing, and I think as well that we have been placed here to find each other. Thank you for the lovely comment, and for the strength your situation provides for me. I feel very comfortable having you for a bloggy sis — I only have one other. Welcome to my world and my family.

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