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Thanksgiving 2019… I’m just THANKFUL. Period.

Thankful for all the tribulations-so I could see how strong I really was, thankful for all the endings- so I could see clearly and appreciate and welcome new beginnings, thankful for all the tests and lessons- so I could remember what is truly important in this life, thankful for those around me-so I could stay humble and hungry, thankful to see the light at the end of the tunnel-so I know I’m gonna make it out on the other side. I’m SO ready for 2020. Ready for new beginnings and a new ME. Ready for a fresh start. Ready for the next chapter…
The Thanksgiving season is usually a time for everyone to put forth their gratitude for the every day lives they live and for everything that they are blessed with and grateful for….
Thanksgiving, Novembers’ in general, will forever have a different meaning for me because, after 2017, November forever became the anniversary of when I would’ve heard the worst news ever and when my life would’ve instantly changed forever. November marks my diagnosis anniversary. So while many people far and wide are coming together with their families to celebrate the annual tradition of turkey and expressing and being thankful for all that you supposedly have, November and the idea of being “thankful” in my world is quite different now. While I do participate in the traditional Thanksgiving festivities with my kids and with my family, after my diagnosis my level of thankfulness for the everyday little things that people often overlook has drastically changed. In a weird way I almost started to resent the idea of a “Thanksgiving holiday” because I very quickly realized that the laundry list that people tend to announce that they are thankful for are quite often things that are just sheer luxuries in life (AKA petty shit) and that the reality is that nobody walks around feeling like they need to be thankful for all of the little things that you only realize are big things once your world is turned upside down, once you realize how grateful you should’ve been (past tense) for something that you did with ease once upon a time… When what was once easy everyday things, became challenges you now have to conquer. When every day brings new or different challenges that you are never able to mentally or literally prepare for. When you bypass all the little things that you should actually show grave gratitude for daily but you only realize how detrimental that lack of gratitude is once it has become a luxury of your past… I was once one of those people… now I’m thankful every minute of every day. Thankful for all of the little things. Thankful for all the “wins”. Thankful to have gotten thru errands, thankful to have sat thru sporting events, thankful to have completed an entire workday, thankful when I’m able to cook dinner, thankful to have walked around the mall, thankful for grocery shopping alone, thankful for a clean house, thankful for all the things I am able to achieve that I once didn’t think twice about doing pre MS. Sucks that it took MS to give me the perspective I needed.
Prior to November 2017, I definitely do not think that I was as thankful every day as I am now to just be able to wake up and get out of bed every morning and walk to the bathroom on my own and unassisted. Perspective… This is not something that makes everyone’s “what I am thankful for list” when Thanksgiving season does roll around but in actuality, it is these types of little things that quite often go overlooked that every one of us should be THE most thankful for. Gratitude shouldn’t only be expressed on one day of the year. And for many people in situations similar to myself, gratitude isn’t a one-day-of-the-year kinda thing… When all the money in the world CANNOT change your circumstances… Perspective becomes your best friend.
Moving on, with the 2 year anniversary upon me, I just underwent my annual dose of MRIs. While I still absolutely hate being in that scary, loud machine where I feel like the walls are closing in on me, I was very happy that there were no reported changes. So my initial, year one and year two MRIs are all identical with no changes, no new activity and no new lesions. This is definitely great and exciting news and helps keep my mental part of the process on track just to hear this type of findings. Does that mean I feel exactly the same as 2017-NO, it doesn’t. But it does mean I can continue pushing forward because that aspect is not bringing me down in addition to the actual physical aspects of the illness itself. I can continue to grow and learn and push myself on the path of being a better me-Nicole 2.0. I have never felt more content with life. This isn’t because I have someone by my side or because everything in my life is going absolutely perfect. I am content for the first time in my life because I actually did the work. I worked thru my troubled past and recent heartache and used 2019 to work on myself and to strengthen the relationship I have with myself. I found solitude in things I once thought were completely frightening or intimidating and I found peace and acceptance in my chaotic world. And with this newfound sense of peace and clarity, I was able to work day in and day out on being the best version of myself and I continue to do so.
Everyday with MS brings different challenges. Some days more than others. But every day I wake up knowing that everything we have is a gift and that each moment we experience is time we will never get to spend twice. Spend it wisely…
-“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
-A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle… Buddha