My Gifts to my Self

Birthdays. Holidays. They seem to highlight both what is great in our lives and what isn’t so great.

My birthday is always right around Thanksgiving. This year, it was 2 days later.

My sisters and mom had planned to spend the afternoon with me – we hoped to go to somewhere fun, but as the plans drew together, I realized that I was not up for the plans to drive up an hour to go to Yankee Candle Shop – a fun, festive place especially around Christmastime. However, I have not been able to walk very far without my oxygen levels dropping.

So we planned to have a girls’ afternoon and watch movies here at my house. When I woke up Saturday morning, however, I knew that I could not handle even that.

So everyone came to visit in shifts – I didn’t really leave the couch. They brought food, gifts and smiles. I felt like a princess – my family coming to me to celebrate my day. As physically awful as I felt, my heart was full.
Over the past couple of years, my overall health has progressively decreased, and I am sick much more frequently and for longer durations. Time in between was disappearing, along with so many of the things I love about life.

I am living the word “progressive” in every way. And the holiday season reminds me so much more of the things that CF has stolen from me.

When I do my Vest, there isn’t much else i can do because I’m shaking. Reading, writing, even playing a game on my phone, are nearly impossible because my vest shakes my entire body.  So I spend a lot of time watching television. And now, I am bombarded with scenes of people celebrating in visiting, shopping together, riding sleds in the snow, free to enjoy all that the holidays bring.

All of the things that I really cannot do anymore. It really hurts sometimes when I see the world going on without me. But the best thing I can do for myself and for the people I love is to spend the energy that I do have on them.

So even though my big birthday plans fell apart, I still got to see my family, especially my nieces and nephews, whom I adore. And even though I probably won’t be able to get my Christmas tree up this season, I will still try to enjoy looking at pictures of other people’s Christmas trees.

I will try to enjoy everything that I do have, instead of worrying about things that I do not have. Cystic fibrosis does not have me yet. And I will go down fighting. Fighting for the people and things that I love.

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