Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Happiness Project

I love to read, and although I can be picky about the books or subjects I like, I normally find myself in a continuous stream of books. Currently, I'm reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I'm not reading this because I'm depressed or even sad, but like the author I find myself a happy person, but questioning if I'm really as happy as I could be. Perhaps this is a selfish though, but it is what it is.

Sometimes I find that my Crohn's gets me down. I think about wanting to go and do things with my friends, or try a new place for dinner, but the fear can sometimes be too much. And I've realized as much as I look beyond IBD, the truth is I will always have it, and there's really nothing I can do about that.

In one point in my book, the author talks about being generous, not so much buying things for your loved ones, but being generous in your thoughts and in your actions. She came up with a theory that people are much more excited to hear they've been thought about in a special way rather than getting the latest gadget or what-have-you.

This really rang true with me the other day...

Honestly, there are about a billion and one reasons why my mom is awesome. I could probably write an entire book, and perhaps one day I will, but more recently, she brought out her A-game of awesomeness....

Perhaps it was all the commericals or maybe it was a little bit of good-will on my part, but sometime in my early teens, I wanted to donate blood. When I found out that I had to be at least 17, I was annoyed, but I figured I could wait a few more years. On my 17th birthday, the exact day, there was a blood drive. I was so excited, I marched right over, told them I was a first time donor, filled out my forms, and got in line. When I was 12 I was diagnosed with Grave's Disease, and after all the paperwork I had to tell the nurse what medications I was on for that, and turns out because of what I was on, I was on a temporary "cannot donate list" until I had been off the medication for a while.

I was upset, all I wanted to do was pass on a favour, give blood, and perhaps make someone's day, somewhere, a little brighter and I couldn't do that.

I wasn't giving up home. In university I had radiation to remove the function of my thyroid. I was off the medication and excited to go back, get that first time donor sticker, fill out those forms, and actually make a difference. That's when I got even more bad news. Between my 17th birthday and my thyroid radiation, I had been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. When speaking to a nurse from Canadian Blood Services, she told me that because of the autoimmune nature of the disease, I couldn't donate. It wasn't because of medications or anything like that, it was because of the disease. My chronic condition. I had been black listed from giving blood.

This made me a little more upset that even I had expected. I wanted to make a difference, this seemed like the easiest way. I got annoyed when I found out how many people didn't do it, it was so easy, and it saved so many lives. And here I was....tainted.

Three years come and go, and I hear the commercials on the radio and feel a little pained that I cannot donate. That's where mom comes in. She called me the other day and said she had something to tell me. She had been keeping it a secret, but on the day she called she had just come from Canadian Blood Services. She said that all my conversations about giving blood had really struck a nerve with her and hit home, so on that particular Tuesday she went and donated blood, in my honour.

I couldn't believe it. I felt as though it had been so long since I brought it up. But there it was. She even set up her next appointment to go again in the fall. So, my mom, my hero. Once again she saves the day. She may have saved my day, saved my dreams, but even more importantly, she saved lives.

So I guess as the story goes...I can't do everything, but with the help of people who care of me, I am limitless.

Yours in good health,

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