My bedroom is warm and my TV is fixed on ESPN but the only sound is the hum of the ceiling fan. These are the dangerous times. It's Thanksgiving eve and here I am, thinking. It sounds a lot like complaining to say that the holidays just don't have the same shine they used to. At the same time, the more I think about it, I don't think that idea is all that uncommon. As we get older, I think the way most people look at the holidays or feel when they come around, changes. Life changes. Hearts get broken, loved ones pass, illness strikes, homes are lost...lots of things skew our view.
For me, as a child I was the type that loved every second of every holiday. And this time of year especially, I was happy and filled with excitement and just plain ol' happiness. Being with my family, helping prepare meals, holiday shopping, just the cool air and decorations energized me. Then my parents' divorce came. Some of those things changed and felt and looked different but over time I adjusted. So I guess you could say there was a tiny gray cloud over some of my favorite days.
Just a few weeks before Christmas, sometime in my mid-twenties, I met this guy. And I admit, I fell quick and hard. I lost my mind (in a good way) over that man and I spent a year in total happiness and bliss. I was in love and I found the man of my dreams and I trusted and believed in him completely. That next Christmas Eve I found myself in one of those movie scenes where the guy is at his girl's family Christmas gathering and he's getting on his knee in front of everyone there telling her how much he loves her and asking her to be his wife. I said yes! Fast forward a few months and he had changed his mind and wrecked my heart. The blow was devastating and the gray cloud grew a little, taking a wee bit more of my easy joy of the season.
Almost exactly two years ago, I had my very first Pulmonary Function Test. I knew something wasn't right and I was scheduled to see my Rheumatologist I'd seen a couple times for this weird thing that happens to my hands when they get cold. My little sister came in the room with me and as I took my first breath and following the instructions of the tech, blew as hard and fast as I could into that machine, tears immediately began to fall. I KNEW something was wrong and not just a little wrong, but life-changing wrong. Days later I found out just how right I was. I had scleroderma. Diffuse Systemic Scleroderma. And yes, it's just as scary and terrible as it sounds. At 30 years old I was told I had a progressive, incurable disease. And right in the middle of my 'joyful season'. Talk about gray cloud growth!
Over the last two years I've had nearly every up and down and all around experience you can imagine. Most of the people that will read this know, I'm holding my own at this point and I'm doing the best I can. And this year, that gray cloud is present, it always will be. It's part of life. Everybody grows one.
Be happy and thankful. I sure am. My bedroom is warm, UK is getting handled and I get to eat pumpkin pie tomorrow!