It’s Important To Remember Life Before Chronic Illness

What are your favorite childhood memories?  Are there reoccurring traditions you remember fondly?  Did you have a fort in your backyard?  Did you go to camp each summer?  Did you go skiing each winter?

remember life before chronic illness


Yesterday we were blanketed in 4 inches of white.  The previous night was spent living in a snow globe.  It’s truly beautiful.  Even more so because I no longer have to leave the house on days like this now that I’m a stay-at-home mom/grandma/trophy wife.  (I like the trophy wife the best, except when my son reminds me that everyone gets a “thanks for playing” trophy these days.)

Where was I?  Ah, yes, snow!

These multiplying inches bring back great memories of playing outside when I was a kid.  Growing up in Michigan usually meant snow in late November/early December that remained through February.

We lived on a dead end road and the snow plow would push a glorious mound of white playground and leave it three feet past our driveway.  We spent hours as kids digging holes in that mountain, climbing to the peak, and sliding back down on our bellies.

Having fibromyalgia has changed winters in Michigan for me.  It hurts down deep in my bones. When the barometer drops my pain increases. If the change is abrupt and drastic the pain can be almost unbearable. If the temp is below freezing I’m not usually able to venture out. I have to start my car 15 minutes before leaving the house so it has time to warm up the interior and, when possible, I get dropped off at the door so I’m not out in the cold for long. Thankfully I have an automatic starter that only takes a push of a button to get the car started.

Despite the aches and pains, I still enjoyed getting outside in the snow.  Yesterday I bundled up more than usual and shoveled a few scoops into a pile and then stood to watch my my grandson firmly pack a snowball and then hurl it at me with all his strength. (I see baseball in his future for sure!). We were only out about 15 minutes and I had to end the fun and return to the warmth of my house.

The best part of being out there was the memories replaying in my mind.  As kids we played outside until we were called in to thaw.  We’d drink some hot cocoa while our gloves and boots dried over every heating vent in the house.  Once our noses had turned from bright red back to their normal color we’d venture out again!

It’s important to stop and remember life before chronic illness and the pain it’s brought.

Not to make us sad or angry at our current state; but to be thankful for the moments we’ve been able to experience.  Each phase of life has its blessings and its challenges, its comfort and its pain.

It’s also important to be grateful for what we can do today. Even if it pales in comparison to life before we were diagnosed.

I’m thankful for the strength to shovel some days when there are so many that cannot leave their bed, home, wheelchair, etc.  I’m thankful for the warm house that was waiting for me when so many are out in the cold this winter.

So today, I’m stuck in the recliner resting as I’m afraid those few minutes of shoveling (paired with a bit of painting I did in a small cupboard) are turning into a flare, I’m trying to remember that the pain was caused by something I’m able to do that so many others are not.  The challenges in the midst of blessings.



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19 thoughts on “It’s Important To Remember Life Before Chronic Illness

  1. Interesting article today! My brother has sent me, now and then, pictures of my previous athletic days…waterskiing,skating,cross-country skiing, etc. Part of it makes me very,very sad that I can’t do the same things anymore. Another part makes me happy that I once could!! Sometimes I forget what I used to be like as I’ve had fibromyalgia for almost 22 years now. I think you’re is could to remember all the good times and the things we did.

    • What a timely reinforcement?! There’s always going to be that tinge of sadness but take a moment to soak in the beautiful memories and let them bring a smile to your face!

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging post. It has boosted my courage to face and embrace each day, with a thankful heart.

  3. I don’t know why but I am flaring with my RA and fibromyalgia and am in so much pain. I really appreciate your positive thoughts. I wish I had your faith to accept the Lord’s will. I get angry because walking down the stair has been so painful. So thank you for being so positive and pray for me so I can accept the Lord’s plan for me.


    • I’ll be praying Rose! I’m sorry you’re flaring so bad. During the worst days it’s easy for our faith to waver. Allow yourself to take peace in knowing others are praying and God is carrying you through – even if you can’t find the words to pray right now.

  4. Good point! Sometimes I find that my “old self” resurfaces. I’ll have extra energy or a good day and suddenly remember something I used to do it enjoy. It’s a good feeling.

    • It is Ava. I think it’s the same way things change with each phase of life. Some things are no longer in our lives but the memories can still bring us joy!

  5. What a sweet & encouraging post. I, too, often think of what I could do vs. what I can do. After big gardens ended for me I have the delight of a “greenhouse” window & treated myself to 5 different bulbs that I planted. What a delight to see these growing, living things each day & to be able to “care” for them. Is it a big garden? No. But does it bring a joy? Oh, yes!

    • Jill, I’m so glad you were able to scale down your love for gardening to something you can manage and enjoy! Such a brilliant way to continue with a hobby you love!

  6. I don’t think I knew you were from Michigan! I was born and raised there, though I haven’t been back in years. I miss the falls the most, I loved all the beautiful colors and the crisp temperatures.

    • Yep, I was about 30 miles from where I live now. For a while we lived up north and then we lived in Virginia for 3 years and then moved right back home. What part of Michigan were you from?