Tuesday, September 10, 2013


The bravest thing you can do
when you are not brave
is to profess courage and act accordingly.
-Corra Harris

If you read my Blog, you know that I like positive affirmations, inspirational quotes and music. This is one that I really like because I think so often as we fight our everyday battles with IC, we forget how brave what we are doing really is!

Like so many historical events that happen in our lives that cause us to never forget where we were when heard about them, I bet every single IC patient can remember the day - may even the exact date - they received their IC diagnosis. I was diagnosed in November 2002. That much I will never forget. I sure didn't feel brave then and as I learned to accept my IC and figure out how to live with it, I honestly felt like a big wimpy baby. I didn't feel strong one little bit. As most of us do, there were plenty of times when I cried like a baby and fell apart at any setbacks along the way.

But this is a learning process. Learning how to live with chronic illness is a process. Learning to live with constant pain is a real challenge. Winding our way through the maze of medicine sure isn't easy. But we do it. We do it because we must. We must keep going until we find some relief. 

And so for me part of my process was working with a psychologist to help me learn coping skills for what this new life of mine was going to be. It's not easy. 

Since being diagnosed, I have had 12 surgeries, countless treatments, gone through the disability process and just plain kept fighting my way through everything that was thrown at me.

It's been and will continue to be an ongoing process. I don't think we ever get "happy" with our situation but accepting it and learning how to cope are things we can get better at.

As I went through this process it was pointed out to me by more than a few people; my own doctors, my family, my friends that they were so impressed with how well I handled everything. My first reaction: seriously?? I'm handling this well? I thought I was a basket case. Just goes to show you how strong we are. All these people told me they admired my strength and courage in battling everything I have been through. 

Slowly I started to believe them. I had a real mind shift about this over time because I realized they were right. Every single one of us battling our IC - or any other chronic illness - is to me BRAVE! It takes courage to keep going. To make up your mind that you will never give up looking for better treatments, but also that you will just plain not give up at all! 

Finding a way to still enjoy our lives, friends and family. Problem solving our way through difficult social situations. Continuing to work or not. These things all take courage and strength and determination and I say we all have it in spades! Otherwise we'd never get out of bed. I know there are days we have to stay in bed, but it's the days that even when we don't feel like it, we get up, put on our "I'm OK" face and go out into whatever world we live in (big or small) and we just do what we have to do.

So, I suggest writing this quote down - or any others that inspire you - and keep it someplace where you can see it all the time. Use Post -It notes and put them up in places you spend time. Like the bathroom!! When you are in need of feeling strong, say out loud to yourself "I AM strong!" and then act like you are! 

Put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Because this is what takes courage. This is what takes strength and this why all of you are BRAVE!

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