It’s that time of year when we sit around our tables with carved turkeys, mashed potatoes, and a healthy dose of gratitude in honor of Thanksgiving. Sometimes I struggle to feel grateful. While gratitude may not come easily, the behavior can be learned and reinforced by making it part of our daily routine.
Research suggests that the practice of gratitude contributes to psychological, social, and physical well-being. So, as we sit down this week to ladle the gravy, I think it is important to look at our disease and see the good in our experiences with cystic fibrosis (CF).
Following are some of my reasons to be grateful for CF:
‘Normal’ highs are extra special
Life with CF is filled with disappointments and pain. We can struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy. “Normal” life often feels out of reach. However, significant life moments such as graduations, weddings, childbirth, and first jobs are bigger and brighter when we do accomplish them. Perhaps it’s because of the challenges along the way. I believe that achieving a milestone when you have CF feels incredibly special because it’s another step toward beating the odds.
A community of people who ‘get it’
Our CF community is amazing. No one understands the grossest truths, saddest defeats, and weirdest quirks of our disease better than another CFer. We all want to feel “understood.” I’m very grateful to be connected to extraordinary friends who support me and enrich my life. Our friendships are deep because we share unique experiences that bind us together. I appreciate it when I have a coughing attack while on the phone and my CF friends respond to it by ignoring me and talking louder. That’s true friendship.
Empathy is a gift in today’s world. Living with CF increases our capacity to reference and understand another’s experience. Managing complicated emotions, medical issues, and stressful situations on a daily basis makes it easier for us to empathize with others’ challenges. I believe that this CF-related empathy makes us better human beings. I am grateful my disease gives me the ability to understand another’s pain so I can offer support and be there for them.
What are you grateful for? Share in the comments section below. And have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.