Monday, April 9, 2012


There is great hope for the future of us living with CF and generally I am optimistic about my future. But I have known many whom have succumbed to this disease. And the many pills, medical treatments and hospital visits that I endure serve as a constant reminder of my race against time with this progressive disease.

Sometimes, hopelessness hides in the shadows of my heart, waiting for the slightest palpitation so that it can sneak in. My family and friends depend on me. They need me to be strong. They pick up cues as they walk with me down this path. If I have hope, they feel hopeful. So, how do I keep hope alive when I don't feel very hopeful?

Throughout my journey I have had so many pioneer the way, many who have inspired me, many who have encouraged me. The one thing that has always been abundantly clear to me is that these individuals all exuded gratitude. I am a firm believer that one's attitude greatly impacts their mood, health and overall well-being. Therefore, having hope is directly linked to my gratitude. Below are a few things I do to keep my attitude in check.

  • Pay attention to my thoughts. Focusing on the postive thoughts rather than the negative ones. For example say "I am thankful for having heath insurance" rather than "What a hassle this insurance companies is!" then repeat over and over and over.
  • Staying in the moment or immediate present. Asking myself what I am grateful for right now, today. My family? A roof over my head? I start with the simple things in life that I often take for granted.
  • Take time to regularly think about things I am grateful for. I recently started a "thankful Thursday" post to write each week. This helps keep on the task at hand, to force me no matter what my mood is to stop and think about thankful. Writing has been incredibly therapeutic and healing.

While this all sounds well and good, it sometimes can be difficult to count our blessings. But once you get in the habit it truly becomes easier. It allows you to take what might seem hopeless and see it from a different perspective; thus staving off hopelessness from entering your heart.

Here are two more tips that B and I do to keep hope alive during the really hard times:

We try to keep our expectations in check. Hoping for a cure can keep us going but it can also be devastating when it doesn't happen fast enough. Miracles can and do happen! And it's also important to stay grounded in reality. Having faith with reasonable expectation helps us stay firmly planted on the ground as much as possible.

We take time to grieve. Crap happens. Bad things happen. Which usually causes one or both of us to respond with shock, fear, anger and often despair. We have learned that we have to allow the emotions to run their course, to validate them and to give one another time and space to grieve. This is so important for the healing process. However, it's also important to not get 'stuck' in that/those emotions.

For us faith in God has definitely given us more hope. When times are really tough, we can find comfort knowing that there is something bigger than us; that there is some meaning and purpose for it all, even if we can't see it or understand it.


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