the characteristics of a survivor

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There is a special something that separates us from the pack.

Some people don’t quite understand what a chronic disease survivor faces on a daily basis–how we pull off making living life look so easy. But we know exactly what it takes. There is a true science to making it look so seamless. once I became part of the pack, it’s almost as if I automatically adapted or refined these characteristics.

We must look at it this way: We are blessed, We are fortunate, We are God’s favorites. He chose to bless us with just a little more oomph while creating us–in order for us to have the ability to carry such a heavy load of physical and emotional pain daily without breaking our backs. For that, we should all be thankful. And carry our burdens with pride.


We are chronically sick, but we are now chronically enlightened, as well.

1. Awareness

It all begins with the infinite power in knowing and being conscious. To understand what things surrounding us may no longer be considered harmless and should now be seen as a potential threat to your health is truly golden. Ignorance is not bliss for me; I have an immune system that doesn’t protect against viruses and attacks itself. So if I wash my hands more than the average person, or I carry around 2 mini Lysol sprays and push doors open with my elbows instead of my palms, be aware of why I do this. No, I’m not being a ‘germaphobe’ or cynical. I’m being actively aware of what will keep me alive and well in the physical world.

2. Fearlessness

This might take a while to catch on, but once it was determined that I actually have no physical control over the situation, the true test of my willpower came into play. I fear my God, but I do not fear this disease. I do not claim it as mine, and therefore I will not entertain it as if it’s something that has defeated me. We are brave individuals and we must remember how many people are watching us as inspiration that God is in fact real and He will bring us through this storm.

3. Preparation

What is bad news? When the going gets tough, you learn to seamlessly dodge the bullets life shoots at you. Doing so with grace appeals not only to those around you as inspiration, but the mirror likes it too. Whether I am in or out of remission with my disease (especially because of its symptoms’ random nature), I still understand every single morning that I wake up how quickly something can change for the worse, and I am always ready for whatever may come to me.


4. Sensitivity

My closest family members and friends would argue that I’m “blunt” or “straight to the point”–I know, I have no filter and that is something I’ve been working on for years. But when I say sensitive, it is in reference to interactions with others and their stories. Someone texted me today and asked to share her ‘struggle story’ with me over coffee tomorrow morning, and I am all ears– not only listening to what others go through, but actually letting their experiences penetrate me for my own personal growth and position in this world.

5. Gratefulness

Above all, I have learned to become immensely thankful for every opportunity (or ‘missed’ opportunity) God has blessed me with. Each moment that I’m not experiencing excruciatingly bothersome pain, I’m giving thanks. Throughout the day I observe and witness the mental and physical hardships that are all around me–watching a homeless man reluctantly push his cart full of supplies to the next bus stop, hearing a woman on the phone in the grocery store crying to her baby’s daddy for money to feed the children–it all affects me. And it helps me to see the good in my situation. My enlightenment was not an accident.

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