Our first Facebook Fan Spotlight is IG Living! reader Cheryl Fournier, who inspired all of us with the following comment:
“My five year anniversary of CIDP was just the other day. A very good friend and I got tattoos. Mine is a five pointed star to remind me when I have a bad day that I have been worse and I will be better, to keep my head up, my feet on the ground and reach for the stars!”
We wanted to talk with Cheryl and learn more about her positive outlook on life.
IGL: Why did you celebrate your CIDP diagnosis anniversary by getting a tattoo?
Cheryl: I wanted to do something special to mark the anniversary. I wanted a tattoo because they are permanent and if it has a meaning to you, it’s not just “ink.” It becomes a tribute that can’t be lost or stolen.
IGL: How did you decide on a star?
Cheryl: The star has several meanings to me. Stars are unobtainable, and when I was so weak that I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow in the hospital, I thought getting better was unobtainable. But I got better — I overcame my doubt and loss of faith. Having a star where I can see it and touch it reminds me when I’m having a bad day that I have been worse and I will be better, if I believe.
IGL: What have you learned about yourself that you did not know before your diagnosis?
Cheryl: I have learned that I don't have to be perfect. I was a perfectionist and a control freak. I learned that it’s OK to ask for help. That was a hard lesson.
IGL: Your email signature includes the line “Believe in the magic of life.” Tell us about that.
Cheryl: I believe magic is everywhere; you just have to know how to find it. The love of family, friends and pets is magical. If you’ve ever had a dog or cat sit on your lap when you don’t feel good and look at you with such love and unspoken understanding, you know what I mean.
IGL: Who or what inspires you?
Cheryl: Last year, I went to the beach and I was sitting under an umbrella when this man and his little boy came by on their way to the water. The boy looked about 5 or 6 and he had a walker, a beautiful bright blue one. He struggled through the sand and his dad asked if he wanted to be carried and he said, “No, I can make it.” When they reached the ocean, he let go of the walker and played in the water just like any other little kid. He squealed and laughed and splashed his dad. I had my camera and zoomed in and took a few pictures and when I got home and loaded them on my computer, the joy in that little boy’s face was amazing. He was an inspiration.
IGL: Finish the following statement: If time, money and health were no object, I would…
Cheryl: Be like The Brain from Pinky and the Brain, and take over the world! I would also house as many homeless and abused animals as possible. My animals are family, and they understand me better than my friends do.
IGL: What advice do you have for others regarding turning life’s lemons into lemonade?
Cheryl: Find someone who has gone through what you are going through because they will understand better than anyone else. Avoid “soul suckers,” people who are negative about everything and turn every conversation to be about them. Remember, even if you have a lifelong disease, you can get better. Find a way to look at the positive. Everyone has some kind of obstacle in their life and some are harder to get through than others, but no matter what faith you are, we are all working on the same goal: eternal happiness.
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