Okay, the title may have oversold the actual content of this post, but with today being Thanksgiving (in Canada) and all, I figured I would jot down a few things that I’m thankful for, even in the midst of my daily struggles. So before I chow down on a turkey sandwich with mayo, spinach, and Swiss cheese, here’s what I’m grateful for.
My girlfriend. Jayee and I haven’t had the perfect relationship, and that’s largely because of my own cowardice, something that I won’t delve into right now. Yet through the pain that I’ve caused her, she remains at my side, and she never really left. On top of the expected qualities of a great girlfriend – kindness, intelligence, wit, a cool fashion sense, etc. – Jayee possesses intangibles that I could never adequately describe with the written word. Intangibles like quirky sounds and wonderfully weird mannerisms. It’s those intangibles that high-five my heart.
My dad and uncle. I live with them both, and I’ve made it clear in a past post that it’s anything but an ideal living arrangement. It’s not that I don’t love them both, but I realized after moving back in with them after the two years I spent in Halifax that I don’t like living with other people. Not family, not roommates, not anybody. Still, having people who can fund the bills and offer a warm room isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world. My dad especially has been caring and supportive and helpful, and not just in my post-op period, but throughout my life.
My two part-time jobs. That’s right, I got two jobs, and both are the direct result of Jayee’s intervention. I’m now a freelancer for two companies. The first company provides workplaces with surveys to gauge employee well-being, and I handle their social media accounts, as well as some writing for their blog. The second organization is a catering company, and I do some writing, editing, and photographing for them. It’s a nice setup as I can work both jobs from home, except when I need to take photographs. Having some work to do gives me the feeling that, hey, I might not be completely useless.
My healthcare staff. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an elite tactical squad to treat an IBD patient. I’ve relied on GI specialists, surgeons, family doctors, radiologists, CT scan technicians, laboratory technicians, ET nurses, hospital nurses, homecare nurses, social workers, and therapists to help me with my wide array of health issues. I’ve also done a lot of homework myself to learn what I can about living with colitis, and for the time being, an ostomy. The information that has been readily available to me – sometimes too much information – would not have been so accessible, and in some cases even existed, 15 or 20 years ago. In that sense, I’m thankful for the advances made in science and medicine that have benefitted me, even though many more advancements are still needed to truly quell Crohn’s and colitis.
The Arsenal. My wonderful football club gave me a bummer of a summer, but then sprang to life on transfer deadline day with the signing of Mesut Özil. They’ve given me plenty of reasons to cheer and curse and sweat and pace and laugh and groan over the years, and this season has been no different. While Arsenal’s 2013-14 campaign began with indifference on my part, I’m now back to my usual fervour, and I can’t believe that I agreed to attend an event this Saturday that takes place at the same time as Arsenal’s match vs. Norwich. Idiot!
My laptop and smartphone. I spend a lot of time with both. All the radiation from the two devices has probably left me sterile, but that’s cool. I feel engaged with the world when I type up blog posts on my laptop, and when I receive Twitter notifications on my phone. Both pieces of technology keep me entertained, informed, and employed. I can create written pieces for my work, gaze longingly at all the football jerseys I want to add to my kit collection, and find inspiration for home designs, which makes happy daydreaming all the easier.
My legs. Ever since I left the hospital back in June, I went for walks in the park and around the neighbourhood, and that bit of exercise kept me sane. Well, as close to sane as I could have been, anyway. I even managed to walk 10K at the Terry Fox Run last month. Since my drainage tube came out two weeks ago, I’ve been able to move around more freely. I still haven’t gone for a proper run since last February, but last week I did run up a downward moving escalator and sprint for a bus at Kipling Station. I may not have a colon or rectum anymore, but I can still walk quite a bit and I damn well plan on running again someday.
There are lots of other things I’m thankful for, but for now I’ll leave it at that and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, a Happy Columbus Day, and a Happy Bald and Free Day!
Image via Feet off the Table!