Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

How Can I Be Thankful For My Chronic Illness?

When I write posts about my chronic illness I wonder if I sound whiny or insincere. I’d hate to think I do. When I began to blog I held back on opening up my heart for fear that readers would lose interest.

After five years of blogging I found that people find hope and strength in my stories. I say that with great humility. If something I’ve said resonates, if I’ve touched someone’s soul, THAT is the reason why I blog.

To make a difference.

chronic illnessMarch is MS Awareness Month, but I believe every day is an opportunity for awareness.

Two years ago I wrote a post for MS Awareness Month about why I’m thankful for my diagnosis. I explained how my diagnosis gave me a sense of purpose and introduced me to the extraordinary people I meet on this crazy and sometimes difficult journey

As odd as it sounds it’s how I felt. It’s still how I feel.

chronic illness

My post “Why I’m Thankful for My Diagnosis” is pinned to my Twitter feed

Here are a few more reasons why I’m thankful.

If I was never diagnosed I never would have:

  • Been as mindful, at such a young age, about the fragility of life and the importance of telling those you love how you feel about them. And to know the value of a single day.
  • Had the opportunity to meet countless people from the medical community who work tirelessly for better patient care and research for MS.
  • Had the honor of working for a health-related website who puts patients first, who sees all contributors and moderators not only as employees but as valued partners who have opinions that matter.
  • Learned, through observation, about human nature and how it’s healthier to accept people for who they are and not how you wish them to be.
  • Felt the blessings, light and love of dear friends who have my back even when I’m at my worst. They are my heroes and sisters who support me every day. I hope they know how much they mean to me, and how their love lifted my spirit through some very dark days. I thank them all.
  • Had the blessing of hearing stories from readers who are living a difficult journey. I am honored to know their courage, and hope my heartfelt words gave them some comfort and peace.
  • Felt the unconditional love and support of my husband and son. If I was never diagnosed their unwavering love would still exist because that’s who they are. Their inner strength has been tested with each MS exacerbation, because my struggles are also theirs. They rise to the challenge, without question, every single time. I thank Gd for them.
  • Last, but certainly not least, I thank YOU for reading my blog, for honoring me with your stories and allowing me the pleasure of knowing you. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of your lives.BONUS

    (Monday to Sunday): Watch this sweet and informational video created by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America who are committed to making a difference in the lives of people with MS.

About Multiple Sclerosis

“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. MS damages or destroys the protective covering (known as myelin) surrounding the nerves of the CNS, and can potentially injure the nerves as well. This damage causes reduced communication between the brain and nerve pathways. Common MS symptoms include visual problems, overwhelming fatigue, difficulty with balance and coordination, and various levels of impaired mobility. Many experts estimate that 2.5 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with this disease, and most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 50. MS is not contagious and researchers continue to look for both a cause and a cure.”~ Multiple Sclerosis Association of America




12 thoughts on “How Can I Be Thankful For My Chronic Illness?

  1. Megan Lewellyn

    GREAT read Cathy! Completely agree that there are indeed blessings that arrive with this “fantastical” disease and feel very fortunate to be able to find them:)

  2. Anne Louise Bannon

    It’s normal to wonder if you’re coming across as too whiny. I worry about it all the time (and probably do come off that way). But I love this post. Too often I hear people act as if having a disease or even being a little bit different is the end of the world. One can not only make peace with the less than great things that happen to us, but also grow and find blessings in them. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Carol A Cassara

    I know several people with MS but of them all, you are the one who steps out and puts a face to the illness and a personality. You help people understand a little of what it’s like. I truly believe you have a greater purpose and this is it.
    Carol A Cassara recently posted…Not impossible at allMy Profile

  4. Helene Cohen Bludman

    If anyone can be the person who gives chronic illness visibility and legitimacy, it is you! You open your heart to your readers and bring information and empathy to every post. You are an amazing person whom I am proud to call my friend, and a gift to the MS and disability communities. And the wider community, too! Thank you for being YOU. xo

  5. Danie Botha


    Whiny you’re not—only brave and honest and strong—a true empowered Spirit!
    Each time I read your posts, I learn something—especially gratitude.
    To have learned the following on your journey tells so much about your growth as a person:
    “…and to know the value of a single day.”
    How don’t I take many days for granted!

    Your post reminds me of a book I’ve just read, How to live a happy life, with a chronic illness, by Bridget McNulty. Like yourself—she’s honest and brave and effervescent.

    So appropriate that it was International Woman’s Day yesterday.
    It’s an honor and inspiration to know women of such sturdy fabric!

    Keep doing what you’re doing, Cathy!

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