Celebrating Through My Illness

Rejoicing even when the battle's not yet won? That’s my kind of celebration.  

Posted in , Jul 24, 2015

a woman blows confetti and celebrates through illness

I love pretty much any kind of celebration. I once hosted a “Friends of the French” party to commemorate all things French. My sister Priscilla and I set up regular “Roommate Appreciation” nights where we treat each other to pizza. Last year, I helped organize an ice cream social at work to kick off summer. This past June, my friend and I had a “Friendship Anniversary” to mark four years of friendship. And I keep trying to convince various family members to take me out to dinner whenever they get a new job or promotion. For some reason, they never take me up on that one. Odd…

Then there’s the made-up holiday I’ve celebrated every July since 2007. It’s kind of a strange one – the anniversary of my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. I call it “MSversary.”

I know, I know. That sounds terrible. I mean you’re not really supposed to celebrate an  illness, right? Whenever I tell someone about it, they respond with a mixture of confusion and sadness…maybe even a bit of fear!

That hasn’t stopped me from continuing with my MSversary for the past eight years. After all, it’s a holiday just for me. I don’t acknowledge the date with a party or make people buy me presents or anything like that. Instead, I’ll go out and buy myself something. One year it was a pair of pointy black flats. Another year a hot pink cover for my Kindle. This year, a flowery dress. Nothing super expensive or extravagant. Just little gifts – from me to me – that mark another year.  

I can’t celebrate being MS-free (fingers crossed, one day). What I can celebrate, though, is another year of fighting, even when I haven’t done it very gracefully. I’m not ignoring or minimizing the fact that I have a chronic illness. There’s no getting around that. But the MSversary is a reminder that I’m working through it. That I’ve witnessed some pretty great miracles in spite of this illness. That I’m not alone. God’s been with me every step of the way. And He’s sent some pretty great people to help me out.

Sure it’s a strange holiday. But I think it’s important to celebrate all occasions, not just the obvious ones. To take a breather from whatever you're going through, acknowledge the mess-ups and the victories. Pat yourself on the back and say, “Hey, you got through another year!”

Rejoicing even when the battle's not yet won? That’s my kind of celebration.  

Is there a strange event you celebrate? Share your thoughts below.

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