Following My Dreams (with POTS)

Danielle Oct2014

*A happy photo of me going to a wedding (before the craziness of this week began)*

After surviving a week of the stomach flu in our household, I am very ready to put my energy into being grateful. I’ve found a grateful heart to be a powerful weapon against the gloom that comes with chronic illness (or any other issue).

First, let me give you this week’s recap. S came down with the stomach flu late Saturday night. It was terrible for him. He had to rest for a few days after his symptoms improved so that he could return to normal. He went back to work on Tuesday, which is when I started to get sick. Since I wasn’t able to hold down meds or fluids for a while, my POTS symptoms took their toll. My resting heart rate was elevated the whole time, but I finally started to feel better after two or three days. Then, I somehow spilled water on my pill minder, and it got my pills for a few days wet. I’ve done my best to take my medications, despite their bitter, powdered form, but it’s been rough. Last night I failed miserably and I ended up getting sick right after attempting to take them. So needless to say, it’s been interesting around here the last few days.

But there is always goodness to be found and I remain grateful for the life I’ve been given. I know that my choice to cling to hope on rough days has made my life better. This week I was able to muster up the courage to submit three of my blog entries to HelloGiggles.com, a light-hearted website with articles written by women, for women. Just sending in my work is an accomplishment for me. I am proud that I stepped out of my comfort zone this week!

Lately, I’ve become inspired to work toward my dreams (and even form new ones). It’s not as easy to live with passion when my medical condition can be unpredictable, but I know it’s possible. I’ve walked through some dark places in my life, and I am still here. I am a fighter. I refuse to let something like POTS define me. I am still a joyful, kind, life-filled, quirky woman who loves coffee and baked goods. Now I just have an extra set of obstacles.

When I look into my heart, I see that my greatest hope is to show love to people who may not see it very often. I tend to be  comfortable with people who are ignored or marginalized. It’s challenging and lonely to be different than the status quo. But you know what? Everyone deserves to feel loved. Everyone deserves to feel heard when they share their story. I spent my teenage years trying to rewrite my life experience. I wanted my journey to be straightforward and simple. But now I realize that the most beautiful stories are those of redemption. My life has been brought from hopelessness, fear, shame, and pain into a place of joy, hope, and gratitude. I choose to live an abundant, full life because I remember the pain of living an empty one.

Today I choose to love the people around me. I choose to let them be who they are, where they are. I don’t ask others to change to become someone new. I allow them to be flaw-filled and broken. I encourage them to walk toward healing, whatever that means for them. Today I choose to remember where I am now and celebrate the progress I’ve made. I shut out my negative self-talk and I accept myself. I embrace the chaotic, glorious mess that I am. I listen to my soul. Today I choose to dream. I decide to live life as passionately as I can, even if it looks different than I’d planned. I make an effort wave to my neighbors and I take the time to notice the kindness around me. I dream of bringing joy to the people around me. I dream of a community where people listen more than they judge. Today I look past the difficult moments and I see the goodness around me. And I am grateful.

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