I have a chronic illness, my chronic illness does not have me.

When living with a chronic illness, so often it becomes a part of our identity. A huge, usually massive part of who we are. It is something that we carry with us wherever we go. We don’t get to just leave it at home when we don’t feel like having it around. Our illness affects our every single day in some way or another.

So many days Crohn’s disease likes to whisper in my ear that it has control over me and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  Some days that whisper is the only thing that I can hear, and I begin to believe it. Some days.

Other days, I am able to ignore those whispers. Some days my voice of strength and courage overcomes those whispers and I can barely hear them. There are even some days that my best friend Crohn’s is feeling rather nice and doesn’t even bother whispering at all. Those are good days, really good.

One of the many things that I have learned and discovered over the past nineteen years of living with a chronic illness is this: Yes, I have Crohn’s disease. I cannot deny that. I cannot change that. One thing in my life that will never change.  But no, Crohn’s disease does not have me.

I am more than a disease, much more.  I could bow down to my disease and let it take over my life. I could. It would often be really easy to do so. But I have not ever done that, and I will never do that. I wake up every day and continue to fight. I am not going to lie, some days I have to fight harder than others.

Some years I have had to fight much, much harder than others.

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Luckily, there are even some days that I really do not have to fight at all. No matter the intensity of the fighting required, the important thing is that I do it. I fight, and I fight hard.

So the next time your chronic illness is whispering in your ear that it has control: choose to fight. You are forever more than your illness, you are always more than your struggles. Keep up the fight, no matter how many bumps or bruises you receive along the way.

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