Living A Positive Life

A lot of things seem to be going wrong lately. I have little aches & pains that I just can’t seem to shake & unfortunately, they keep multiplying. I’m in a ton of pain, my fur baby is in pain, and it breaks my heart.  I’ve noticed my personal life suffering because of things (& other people) that I can’t control. It’s hard to take a step back when your world turns into a tornado.

But instead of being Ms. Negative Nelly, and let it consume me, I took a step back. I changed my perspective. I can’t control my chronic aches & pains. I can’t control those around me & how they treat me. I can’t take the pain away from my baby. But what I can do, is change my outlook. I can’t change the people around me, but I can change who I let into my life. I can take steps to actively control my pain.  I can re-evaluate who I let into my life. And most importantly, I can take a step back & embrace the good things in life.

I have an amazing support system of both friends and family. I have the support of amazing doctors doing everything they can to make my pain & illness go away. I have my partner in crime who is always willing to go on any adventure with me. I have the ability to take the time to explore a life many would never know. I can rely on the little things, like getting Iced Tea every day or going to Target multiple times a week.

I’ve learned embrace a small life- filled with daddy-daughter dates, watching tv with my mom, taking my little family (my dog & boyfriend) to get sno-cones, and going on lots of Target trips.

Sure, I could choose to focus on the never-ending pain in my legs, arms, and back. I could choose to live a miserable life, but that’s never been my style.

My illness has tried to suck the light out of my life, but somebody forgot to tell life that I’m tougher than anything it has to throw my way.

I have 124,043, negative things to focus on, but I have 124,044 positive things to focus on. I’ve always lived a life half-full, and that’s how I intend to keep it.

The only thing half empty in my life is my glass of iced-tea.

5 Times Having A Chronic Illness is Like Being an Old Person

The Medicine

Have you ever looked at your grandparent’s medicine cabinet & think “wow, I take all of these medicines?” Yup… Same. You also become a walking pharmacy & can tell any one person “don’t mix this medicine with XYZ” I also have a list of medicines that could make up a short novel, please don’t make me list, spell, or say them all.

The Parking

It’s true, I’m only in it for the parking.

Hiring Help

Yes, I’m twenty-something & yes I already need to hire a caregiver to drive me everywhere and do my hair and take care of me. Yes, It’s really annoying relying on others. All. The. Time. (PS, I know why old people get cranky at this)

The Pain

Don’t tell me I’m too young to know what joint pain/back/knee/neck & everything in-between pain—I can promise you I know. Lucky me, I just get to live with it for much longer than normal!

The Doctor’s Appointments

Have you ever had to write down your symptoms just so you don’t forget to tell your doctor? Or how about having a list of doctors to communicate with weekly just to keep them up to date on everything?

Trust me, living with a chronic illness isn’t for the faint of heart. And it really gives you insight on why old people are so cranky about things.

Help, I Need Help!

The worst part about having a disability has absolutely nothing to do with the illness itself. Does yet suck? Yes. The pain gets old quickly, it sucks having to constantly cancel plans because it hurts to breathe, and it sucks knowing there’s absolutely nothing you can do to make it better. It sucks having to take 3083408402 different medicines to just get by.

It’s hard to keep track of everything going on & having to talk to a million different doctors & keeping them updated on what the other is doing to try to manage a “good” quality of life. But still, nothing compares to the inability to do something simple.

You have to rely on those around you to do daily tasks that others don’t think twice about- like doing your hair or showering or going to get your favorite ice cream. I have to constantly ask for help, because I physically can’t do simple everyday things and it sucks. It makes you feel like the crappiest person & biggest burden in the world.

I know you’re thinking, I’m sure your friends & family don’t feel this way & I’m sure they understand. But put yourself in my shoes for a minute.

You can’t drive, you can’t shower or do your hair, you can’t put your shoes on or get dressed by yourself, and it’s a struggle to do simple everyday chores.

It hurts to think about it, doesn’t it? Now live that every day for the rest of your life- & add the burden of a crippling, progressive rare disease.

It’s hard relying on others, and just know, I don’t like relying on you- but I need to. It’s the only way I have any semblance of a “normal” life.

Though this has been my normal for my entire life, and will continue for the rest of my life, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to asking for help.

The “College Experience” That Wasn’t

I guess my college experience was different than most. I’ve never once had the feeling of wanting college to never end, in fact, it’s the exact opposite- I couldn’t wait.

I fought my fought my way through the longest and hardest four years of my life. Life kept knocking me down and kept making it harder and harder to get up- it got to a point where I just stayed down. I expected the bad, I expected the pain and suffering—it was easier, and I was used to it.

I wanted the college experience, but after the first year and a half, I realized it wasn’t in the cards for me. I learned that the four years in college were only meant to teach me that I am stronger than anything life throws my way.

I struggled mentally with the change of college. I wasn’t with people have known me since I was five, I didn’t know the teachers, and worst of all, I didn’t have either of my partners in crime (my best friend or service dog). I was out of my comfort zone, and it was a mental hump I was never really able to overcome. I suffered many different symptoms of anxiety and depression. I needed a change, so I switched schools & moved into a dorm- worst mistake of my life. I spiraled even deeper into a dark hole.

Again, I made a change. I got my new partner in crime & I started a new school [third times a charm, right?]. It helped a little, but I was still stuck in a rut, and now I’ve added some tough physical challenges into the mix.

I wasn’t happy with myself- physically or mentally- but I accepted that. College taught me just how strong I was- mentally and physically. I learned that it wasn’t going to get better during my four years in college, and once I finished my second year, I accepted the fact. I changed my focus from living the “college life” to living the “Carli Life”—a life about pain, struggle, and mental toughness, with a lot of sass thrown into the mix. I learned that life couldn’t knock me down, no matter how hard it tried.

College changed me; both good and bad. But this isn’t a sad story- just simply the story of a girl who won’t take no shit. A girl who told life to throw whatever it’s got at me. I just might have forgot to tell them that I have a baseball bat ready to swing for the fences, so they better be ready to play hard-ball.