I saw this quote today and it felt very apt. It’s been a rough old road at times but I finally feel like I’m conquering those demons and feeling pride in my scarred body.
Chronic illness has taken it’s toll on me over the years, there are times when I just feel so defeated. I have this happy and positive online persona and in real life I always try and see the best in any situation but sometimes my heart breaks at the life that has been thrust upon me.
I was once asked at an event, if I could wave a wand and make my illness all go away, would I?
I felt a huge pressure to say no, that I would keep the life I have, but in reality, I would do it in a heartbeat.
I know that my illness and what I’ve gone through has made me the person I am, it’s shown me I’m stronger than I ever imagined, it’s brought a bond with friends and family that can’t be surpassed and it’s also shown me other people’s true colours.
Its led me to having a blog that’s been read almost 3 million times (!) and has given me some amazing opportunities to be on TV, the radio anc in newspapers and magazines all over the world. I’ve spoken at events the length and breadth of the UK and travelled to Spain and soon Germany.
Its brought new people into my life who I’d never have met otherwise. I’ve been to parliament. It led me to a job with Scope that I adore. I’ve met Philip Schofield for Christ’s sake!!!
But it has stolen so much from me.
It robbed me of precious hours, days and weeks with my babies. It’s taken it’s toll on my relationship. It forced me into missing days out, nights with the girls, holidays, events. It took my career.
It made me weak and fearful and exhausted. It stole a part of me, both physically and emotionally. It hardened me to the fuckwittery of others (wait, that’s actually a good thing!) but it also toughened my armour and made me push people away.
It caused my babies to be stressed and scared, making them fearful yet far too familiar with hospitals. It made them into young carers and forced them to face worries way beyond their tender years.
But we are here and we still stand strong.
Those feelings of guilt, fear, depression, anxiety, anger and a deep sadness that took a tight grip on my soul, all those feelings still linger yet they don’t have a hold over me.
My body that changed so much bears the scars of multiple surgeries but you know, I kind of love it. My scars show my journey, they are the proof that I survived. My ostomy bag is not worn with shame but pride and love and hope.
My demons will be waiting in the shadows for the rest of my life, but I’m finally feeling strong enough to face them, to fight them and to win.