To have a fulfilled life

Living with chronic illness and learning not only to overcome it, but to live a full life in spite of it, is a complicated process.  It begins, as all processes do, with a decision.  Each and every one of us has to decide how we want to live with what we have.  There are many options.  The easy one is to be the victim, to stay in self-pity and impotence letting the illness rule our lives, living for the doctor’s appointments and medications, only aware of the symptoms that appear every day.  This is one choice.  But it’s not the only choice.  We can also throw away the role of victim and take control of our lives.  This is a much more proactive option.    It implies, first, to accept what we have, whatever our diagnosis is.  This is the most complicated part, for none of us want to accept thet we have an incurable chronic illness.  We even think that accepting it is to give up, to stop fighting, to resign ourselves to the condition.  But it’s not.  Accepting means we know ourselves, we love ourselves with all we have, are and suffer.  Accepting ourselves with what we like and dislike about us.  This step can take a long time, but it’s vital.  Once we achieve acceptance, we can start to work with our condition from the inside, and there are many ways to deal with a condition, many alternatives: changes in lifestyle, in diet, alternative treatmenst and therapies that help us feel better, that help alleviate the symptoms.   But this stage is not the end either.  What is really constructive is to, once we feel better, have a life:  have a goal and a purpuse that fills us with joy, doing something meaningful for us.  In this respect I think about Stephen Hawking, who in spite of having an incurable, and progresive condition has defied death for many years, not for the prerpuse of defying it, but because he has a mission.  His goals and the challenge he has given himself in physics became more important than his illness, and what he has accomplished is amazing!