I tried to come up with a catchy title, but I just couldn’t. This topic has popped up a lot for me in the past few years and I finally felt like it was time to just put it out there.
As I’ve shared before, I was born with a disability called Spina Bifida… and then in 2013, I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. Over the past 3 1/2 years since my cancer diagnosis, I’ve had a ton of incredible support, but I’ve also had a lot of unsolicited feedback on the fact that people think that the cancer should be “easy” because I’ve “been through so much already”. While I know for a fact that God gave me my circumstances for a reason and I know that He never gives me more than I can handle, I don’t think He gave me my circumstances thinking “She’s been through so much. Cancer will be a piece of cake for her.”
Being born with a disability versus having a life-changing medical crisis are two different things. While I am probably more proactive with my thyroid health because I have a better understanding on the fact that my health is important due to everything I’ve dealt with medically with being born with Spina Bifida, it absolutely did NOT make the cancer diagnosis easier. I can’t even compare the two. The truth is, what seems easy to someone else based off of what we see on the outside isn’t necessarily actually a piece of cake for that person. Some people are good at hiding it. Others have sought out the resources to help them through their circumstances, and it probably took a lot for them to get to where they are today. I’m thankful that I have a mother that helped surround me with others that can relate on some level and I’m grateful that the habit of seeking out advice from others carried over into my adult life. Lives and circumstances aren’t cookie cutters though. No one’s journey is exactly the same, even when they are given the exact same diagnosis as someone else in similar circumstances. All you can do is do the best that YOU can do. The honest truth is that people don’t see me on the bad days… I’m not talking about the just sort of bad days. I’m talking about the “I can’t get out of bed” bawling my eyes out from frustration days. As openly emotional as I am, there are still things I don’t share with very many people outside of my husband. I don’t want to be seen as weak. That doesn’t mean that I am not weak. Just because I choose to let people see the better days doesn’t mean that I’m immune to the bad ones. Just because I’ve learned over the past 31 years how to live as a person with a disability doesn’t mean that automatically every other health issue that I face is easy. It’s not. I shed a lot of tears. I lose sleep over worrying about the future of my health and my life in general, but I still force myself at some point to get up, put my makeup on, and face another day. I find ways to find joy in the good days that I do have. What other choice do I have? I’m too hard-headed to do anything else but that.
In any circumstance, you have to learn how to celebrate the little milestones. You have to find ways to give yourself credit and find encouragement so that you can keep going and give back to the world. We weren’t designed to just sit back and do nothing with our lives. What’s the point in that? What good does it do to just say “Well this sucks, so now I’m just going to sit at home in dirty clothes and never see my friends ever again.” The answer is… it DOESN’T. We gain nothing by inaction.
No matter what your circumstances are… however you have to get from point A to point B… it’s not the method, it’s that fact that you just do it. Who cares if you feel like you’re behind compared to others? Their journey is not yours. Their life is theirs. Your life is yours. You have to make it a great one. You owe it to yourself to take your own personal journey and live as the best version of yourself that you’re MEANT TO BE… Challenge yourself, examine yourself (not everyone else), love and accept yourself (“flaws” and all)…and oh yeah, don’t forget to make some memories in the process.
An amazing and truthful read, Lindsey!
First off you know I have admired you for years! Secondly I love the way this is written! It is something I too have struggled with. I was born with Hadju-Cheney Syndrome and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2012. I was told “Oh you have already dealt with so much”… I wanted to scream at them “it’s not the same”. Thank you for saying what I know so many are thinking but just can not put into words as well as you.