Giving Thanks.


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I find that it’s the one where the main goal is to spend time with loved ones, and eat as much as humanly possible while wearing your most comfortable clothes.  This holiday always makes me sit back and reflect on the blessings bestowed on me this past year.

You may be surprised to know that I consider being diagnosed with Guillain Barre a Gift.  Not because I liked sitting in a wheelchair.  Or because I enjoyed the spinal tap.  Or having an IV pumping my weak body full of medication.  Or having to rely on everyone around me to do everything for me.  Rather, because it gave me a new perspective on life.  It forced me to take time from my “busy” schedule to stop.  look.  and listen.  I miss walking. I miss running.  I miss the ease of which I led my life.  It took me until now to realize GBS was a gift.  And it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Today, I want to say Thank You for all of the goodness in my life.  So, here is what I am Thankful For…

  1. …My two doctors.  Dr. Weisman at Abington for diagnosing me quickly and aggressively.  For getting me on the IVIG medication within hours of arriving at the ER.  For stopping IVIG in its tracks.  Dr. Kraus for his continued care during my recovery.  I am grateful that these two doctors came into my life this year.
  2. …Finally finishing my outpatient therapy.  I had a great team at Bryn Mawr Rehab, but the long days and the commute (45 minutes each way) was taxing.  I am not walking unassisted yet, but I  know that since it’s up to only me now, I’ll be back on my feet soon!
  3. …Being able to walk up and down the stairs without holding on.  I tried to do two steps at a time, without much luck.  Well, another goal to add to the list.
  4. …Opening up the box of Steve Madden Boots just in time for Thanksgiving and having them fit perfectly.  Who knew that shoes with no heels could be so cute?
  5. …Slowly getting re-integrated into the workforce.  I’m very lucky to have a great job with a very generous company, CBIZ.  I have never had to worry about my job during my recovery.  So, I’m grateful to leadership for valuing me enough to allow me to heal while transitioning back to work from home.
  6. …Losing my hair.  Well, I’m not really grateful for losing my hair as a result of being sick, but because I needed a haircut, I got to spend 3 hours at the salon with my best friend Katherine.
  7. …Having long eyelashes.  Hey, when you’re losing the hair on your head, you’re thrilled to have your eyebrows!  🙂
  8. …My To Do List.  It’s helping me think that I am actually accomplishing alot.  When you list “shower”, “get dressed” and “brush teeth” on your to do list, it’s very motivating when you can cross off so many things on the list!
  9. …Having sensation back in my legs.  Now, it’s not consistent, but it’s getting there!  Next up– those core muscles!
  10. …Finally getting my PT Joe to wear a King’s College shirt.  In return, I wore a University of Scranton shirt.  It only took 3 months, lots of trash talking and a good sense of humor!
  11. …Not crying out of frustration anymore.  The tears now are shed out of gratitude.
  12. Salads.  I love Salad.  Lots of vegetables, some walnuts, a little gorgonzola, and lots of spinach. I’m grateful for salads.
  13. …That I have almost 2,200 hits on my blog.  Thank you loyal followers, supporters and friends.
  14. …Spending Thanksgiving in North Wales.  There is nothing quite like having dinner with family.  Then watching some football while lying on the floor on those jumbo pillows that we’ve had since we were kids.  Then taking a quick power nap.  Then getting up to whip out David’s famous onion dip for seconds and making a sandwich with the leftover turkey.  Ahhh. Love Turkey Day.
  15. …JR Martinez winning the Mirror Ball Trophy on Dancing With the Stars.  Talk about an inspiration!  I loved watching and cheering for him all season.  He truly is a survivor.
  16. …Building my first scrapbook. I want to document my journey, not only through my journal and blog, but also through pictures and mementos.  I was again overwhelmed when I realized how many cards I got when I was in the hospital.  To know that you are on so many people’s minds is a responsibility.  You need to do everything you can to get better, so that all of the prayers will have been answered.  I went to Michael’s Arts & Crafts Store on Tuesday with Expert Scrapbook Consultant Jackie!  Who knew that there were so many stickers for a scrapbook (see the inset picture of the aisle of stickers)?? I can’t wait to get started!
  17. …Hearing how my journey has inspired someone.  It’s the most overwhelming blessing I could ask for.  Here’s an example of such an email like this:  “Make note of the power of your influence with people during times like these. Most people you talk with (myself included) perceive your struggle as one of inspiration, and look forward to your positive attitude and progress. You CLEARLY exhibit strength and optimism – something which INSTANTLY motivates the people around you (in fact, can be life-changing for those around you!).  I sense that from you, and want to inflate your sense of it – you deserve to know how important you are to the people around you, and to know that you are already creating life-changing realizations in the people who know you.”  All I can say is, Thank You for sharing this with me.  I am moved.
  18. …Being surrounded by love.  All The Time.
  19. …My therapy team at BMR.  Aimee, Joe, Jared, Jackie, Cheryl, Mary, Lauren, Jess, Antonio, Karen, Ted, Ashley, Elaine, Jo.  You all played a role in helping me to regain my strength and confidence in order to walk again.
  20. …My Family.  There is no more treasured blessing than the love of family.  Everyone has family.  However, family are people that we tend to take for granted, and just expect them to be there, no matter what.  Please, be kind and remember that life is fragile.  One day you are fine, the next you’re in the ICU.  When you open your eyes, there is nothing that you want more than your family sitting around your hospital bed.  Love your family, and always  tell your family that you love them.

What are YOU grateful for?  Post your comments on my blog to share what you are giving thanks for.

Another to add to your playlist.  Natalie Merchant’s Kind and Generous.

Wishing you and your family much love, happiness and health this Thanksgiving.

Thank You for joining me on my journey.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Mariellen Rae on November 29, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    You know what I’m grateful for? You. : )


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