By Alyssa Rosengard
The winter holidays are upon us. As those of you who know me or read my blog, I love classic movies. This time of year, one of my favorite movies to watch is called “Meet Me in St. Louis” starring the lovely Judy Garland. The movie follows one family during all four seasons of the year marked by their respective holidays. During the fall season, the housekeeper says: “Another Halloween gone, and we’re all a year older.” Having CVID (common variable immune deficiency) creates a struggle each new day, which makes this line even more poignant, and it reminded me of the need to feel grateful. Grateful to be alive. While I am thankful for each day when I wake up, I must acknowledge the wearing effects of dealing with daily symptoms such as vomiting, fatigue, migraine, joint pain and risk of infection.
It is a common complaint on my CVID support Facebook page to say: “I hate this disorder!” or “When will this end?” We “zebras” (or abbreviated - zeeps) must face never-ending illness. Many of the symptoms are debilitating and tax not only our physical well-beings but our emotional and spiritual selves as well. This disorder changes our lives so that we no longer recognize who we are and mourn for who we were. Part of chronic illness is dealing with loss.
In light of all of these circumstances, it is difficult to be grateful, but we must try. Recently, I was asked for my DNA by a government research facility. The research lab will be sequencing my chromosomes to isolate what causes CVID and, hopefully, develop treatments. For the first time in a long while, I have had hope for a possible end to this disorder - if not for me, then those that follow.
I choose to be thankful for doctors who conduct research and the funding invested in finding a treatment or cure for CVID. My spirit is hopeful. When faced with a forever illness, a lighter heart may just be what the doctor ordered.
What are you grateful for this holiday season?