So, today is the celebration of one year of being severely ill and disabled – of course, I mean “celebrate” in the sense of solemn remembrance, not the party-style “hurrah!” kind of celebration. On this day one year ago, I woke up and couldn’t walk, and the receptionist at my doctors told me they only did home visits “in emergencies” so I should wait until I got better to come in.
Still think that suddenly not being able to walk counts as an emergency.
It has been a year of discovery, despair, and a whole lot of change in one go. I certainly had never imagined or understood quite the extent of what it was to be this ill, and completely misunderstood the levels of support out there. I had thought that if you became ill, there was a safety-net of doctors, disability aids, care, community and income support waiting to catch you. Alas, like the rest of the disabled in the UK, I am still falling.
But, I want to take time to be thankful that I’m still here, and to reflect that it isn’t all awful. I don’t want to lose years to some terrible disease; I want to be filled up with years of joy and new experiences. This year has been hard, and horrible, but not only hard and horrible; it has been filled with good things too:
- I grew closer to my husband, and we celebrated our second anniversary
- I got a kitten of my own, and got to watch him grow up into the lovable menace that he is
- I visited Spain (twice!)
- I ate all my advent calendar early (which I have never done before)
- I learned a lot, about ME, CFS, benefits, politics, and the reality of how the world is
- I moved to a beautiful new flat
- I learned to knit and crochet
- I joined Twitter and Pinterest
- I have made some really good friends: Helen, Abigail, Jenny
- I became a lot closer to some of my existing friends as well
- I met lots of new, encouraging people: Jen, Anna, Katy, David to name but a few, and of course all the Foggies (which brings me onto:)
- I got to be part of a great community of all sorts of friendly people
- I took part in a Secret Santa
- I watched an awful lot of TV (again, something I had not done much of before)
- I got to go on a robot-stair-climber, a strap-your-wheelchair-in taxi, a lifting-truck-thingy and four aeroplanes
- I got to see pictures of my brain
- I got to take part in online lessons for subjects I have been interested in but never had time for before
- I took part in National Health Blog Post Month
- I managed to keep a blog going
- I got to campaign for a lot of important things
- I got to see God’s provision first-hand
- I found a whole new set of people I really admire, for their tireless activism and information gathering, in particular Tom Kindlon, Sonia Poulton, Sue Marsh, Kaliya Franklin, and probably lots more
- I got to spend Christmas with my husband’s family for the first time
- I found a lot of interesting and relevant blogs to read, more than I can even keep up with
- I drank a lot of tea
- I memorised way more Bible verses than I have done in my life
- I learned a lot about myself, and grew in a lot of ways
I’m sure there are a lot more great things that I did this year, but those are just some of the ones I feel happy about and can recall at the moment! I often feel like being ill has stolen my life away, and that every day I lie here is a day that I’ve lost, but this is a great reminder that I am still alive and still living – maybe not to the extent I wanted, but certainly nothing to be dismissive of!