Giving Thanks on Christmas

Merry Christmas! Today is my absolute favorite day of the year. My sister and I have been waking up at 6am to watch Gilmore Girls while we wait for the rest of the family to wake up for as long as I can remember. Once everyone is up we’ll sit around drinking coffee, tea, or hot cocoa while we open presents. When all the gifts have been opened and the wrapping has been cleaned up, my mom makes pancakes, bacon, and eggs for breakfast. Later on in the day we’ll make our way to the cinema to watch a movie together. I always feel like it’s the perfect day.

Since I’ve gotten sick, I’ve been even more grateful for days like Christmas. Even when I’m feeling like complete crap my family finds a way to make it special for me, whether that’s bringing Christmas to my apartment or having a later movie to let me nap. It is things like that that show how thoughtful and caring they all are. I think that it’s so important to let my support system know how much they mean to me, especially since life can tend to revolve around my illness or how I’m feeling. So, I’d like to take a special moment to say THANK YOU!

  • I can’t imagine what it must feel like to finally have your kids grown up just to find out that one of them is chronically ill, and this year has been a particularly difficult one for dealing with my illnesses. But, my parents spent so much their free time this year researching treatments and healing techniques, and even flew all the way up to NYC from Hawaii literally within hours of hearing I was in the hospital. I could not do this without them.

  • Carlos not only puts up with the brunt of my bad days by giving massages, cuddles, and just being there for me if I just need to cry it out, he also spends his days off perfecting new AIP-friendly recipes so that I never feel like I’m missing something in terms of dishes or tastiness. It means the world that he spends his free time while I’m at work still thinking of things that will make me feel good. Thank you, honey!

  • My sister is one of my biggest support systems. She is my advocate when she’s with me at appointments or hospital stays, and always makes time to spend time with me throughout the week. Even when she’s having a hard time at work she’ll bring me a mid-afternoon treat and say hi. She’s been my rock throughout everything the last few years.

  • I lost quite a bit of my social life since I’ve gotten sick. When things are bad I often need to back out of dinner plans or weekend excursions. And, when I stopped drinking and went out less, people stopped inviting me out. This was really hard - I felt completely alone and confused. But my best friends have always been always by my side. They come to just hang out while I’m at home even if it’s just to keep me company while I nap, and they eat at new restaurants so I can enjoy a meal out too. I couldn’t be more grateful to them for making me feel like things are still normal.

This time of year can be tricky for lots of people for lots of different reasons. But, regardless of all the things that might be going on, I think it’s so important to focus on the good stuff. Think about everything you should be grateful for and try to let go of some unnecessary baggage even if others don’t - it’s one less thing to carry!

Tyler Holck