I’ve been watching a show on Netflix called “Afflicted”. The show follows 9 different people who have come down with very unusual illnesses and their journey of finding wellness. I was watching the last episode today and one of the guys said that he was thankful for getting sick because it opened up his eyes to the kind of person he was before he got sick, which was evidently narcissistic. And now after getting sick, he appreciates life more and is more aware of how he treats people and how he acts.
Anyway, it struck a nerve with me when he said he was grateful for getting sick. Now that may sound completely insane to someone who has always been healthy right?! I mean, who would be happy they got sick and their lives got turned upside down?! But you know what?! I have that exact feeling too sometimes. Although, if I had to choose I would definitely choose to not get sick again!! however, when I got sick, it showed me and taught me sooo many things that honestly made me mature very quickly and way beyond my years.
When you are sick, you immediately find out who in your life TRULY cares about you. I lost many friends when I got sick, and honesty it’s been the most heartbreaking things for me over the years; between losing friends who aren’t willing to be understanding or accommodating, and even dating with an ostomy pouch AND a lifelong, incurable disease. It can bring out the worst in people, and it can bring out the best.
I can count on one hand the people who have really stuck with me through everything and still to this day checks on me and makes an effort to show me that they love and care about me. But you know what? I would take the small group of truly caring and loving people any damn day over fake friends. It took literally years for me to learn this, and to this day I really feel heartbroken when a “friend” cuts me out of their life. But in the end, being sick has taught me who REALLY care about me.
Another reason I’m grateful for having an inflammatory bowel disease, getting really sick, not being able to eat for 3 months, losing way too much weight, living off of broth and jello, is that it made me appreciate food in general soooo much more. I still remember the first meal I had after having my large intestine removed and my first ostomy placed. It was plain boiled hospital chicken with white rice. Boring right?! Well, I just thought it was the best tasting food in the world! I even remember the look my parents gave me while I was eating, like “how can hospital food POSSIBLY taste THAT good?!” well let me tell you, when you don’t eat for 3 months, just about anything will taste like heaven. But it was just funny, pretty much every meal after that I would say “holy cow! this is soooo delicious” and my parents would giggle at me, but they were happy to see me happy and eating anything at all. And to this day, I still to this day appreciate every meal like it was a 300$ meal.
Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of the time I really wish I had never gotten sick at all. “why did this happen to me?!” “will I ever feel normal again?”. But when you have an autoimmune disease that’s not going away, probably ever, you have to find the positives in it. I even conquered my extreme needle phobia because of Crohn’s, sure it was exposure therapy since I needed soooooo many IVS, shots, and other various needles, but hey it did the trick! Little things like that seem trivial, but even if its in a small way, it still improved my life.