7 years ago yesterday I heard my doctor say "diffuse systemic scleroderma" to me over the phone. It was the same day my friend and neighbor heard his cancer diagnosis. I am thankful beyond words to still be here and call myself a survivor because my friend did not make it. He fought hard for nearly 3 years and left behind a 13 year old son, my son's best friend.
I always take this time of year to reflect back on everything I have been though with this disease and then count my blessings for having been able to come through it. To be able to continue to be mom to my boys is - well there is no greater gift.
And I remember all of those precious fighting spirits that we have lost to scleroderma. All amazing people who suffered more than anyone should have to with any disease. All of whom were always there encouraging others and always seemed to be smiling though they themselves had it so hard. When I think of what they fought through I am ashamed of myself for complaining even one little bit.
It is from them that I draw my strength and perseverance every day. I feel like I owe it to them to take the best possible care of myself and my boys - because I am still here. I am one of the lucky ones. Scleroderma has been kind to me in that it's onset and progression has been slow. I have been blessed with time. Time to learn, and love and laugh. Time to grow spiritually, emotionally and creatively. Time to just be all that I am, warts and all and to share the precious time that I have been given with my boys and my family, friends and community. And for that time I am thankful beyond words.