According to the African proverb, this quote finishes with “to raise a child”. However, I’ve taken some liberties and adapted this familiar phrase. As I’ve learned over the last year, it also takes a village to battle a chronic disease. As isolating as the disease can be, there is no way anyone suffering from RA (or any systemic, chronic illness) can survive without support, guidance, understanding, and especially love from those around them.
I’m lucky enough to have many amazing people supporting me, so today’s post is really about two things. First, my goal of raising awareness is not just about the disease itself, but about ways to live a full life despite its existence. Our support system is a key element in making this a reality. Second, these people deserve a huge thank you, so this post is an open letter of gratitude. Here goes, in no particular order:
- Thanks to my friends near and far, who give me encouragement, understand when I have to change/cancel plans, and of course, are there to share lots of good times and wine. 🙂
- Thanks to my doctors and nurses, who take me seriously, remember which veins to stick, work tirelessly to find the right treatments, and never run out of options to try.
- Thanks to my colleagues and business partners, who are always willing to jump in, are open to Lync calls vs. face-to-face meetings, and open my Diet Cokes when my hands aren’t cooperating.
- Thanks to Sam and Cooper, my two favorite dogs, who seem to know when I most need comfort or entertainment.
- Thanks to my family, who are always there (regardless of their physical distance), listen whenever I need to talk, constantly offer to help, and love me unconditionally.
- Finally, thanks to my sweet Bear and my amazing Lora, without whom I simply would not have survived the past year. My rocks, both physically and emotionally, and the two people who join me daily on this journey. I’m constantly amazed by my son’s capacity to understand this illness at such a young age, and by Lora’s unwavering commitment to being and doing whatever I need at that moment.
No words can ever fully express my appreciation for this “village”, but they’re a start. Thanks for reading, and indulging my note of gratitude. Sending all of you love and (virtual, pain-free) hugs today and every day…