I think going through health issues so young it’s hard for you to think big. I didn’t have big goals or big dreams. It was almost like, okay, I'm going to try and get through today. I'm going to try and get through this health issue. I didn’t have the “I'm going to live here and have this house and marry this man and be this profession.” It, my world was I think smaller than that and more focused on just trying to survive. And that’s sad that I had to just think of day-to-day survival versus dreaming.
But I’m grateful to be alive now at 38 and dreaming so much. So, I’m making up for that lack of dreaming when I was younger. Living with polycystic kidney disease I learned so much. I learned a lot about myself, how strong I am, all of the health hurdles that I went through. I learned a whole new perspective on life. Going through so much gave me the confidence that I could continue to go through more. It taught me resilience and the power of positivity and gratitude. I am completely who I am because of what I’ve endured and the challenges that I’ve gone through. I – it gives me, I think, the ability to know that I can get through anything, that I can overcome because I’ve done it time and time again. And it gives me that perspective and appreciation for something that may seem simple as waking up in the morning and being alive, but in my world it’s gigantic. And I also think having something to look forward to has always helped me. I always try and have that point of something positive to look to, even if it’s something simple, going somewhere, an event. That's been really helpful for me.
And my passion of being a patient advocate has been huge to help keep me positive and resilient through what I'm going through, because it’s given purpose to all that I’ve gone through. Gives purpose to the pain, a reason for this really challenging journey, and puts it in this perspective of I’ve gone through this for a reason, and I have this really important work to do, and I survived all of it for a bigger reason. I think my positive outlook and resilience has several factors that play into that. I think being surrounded by such amazing support and love and encouragement is such a steadfast support in my life that really helps me to be able to stay strong because I know I'm surrounded by that amazing circle of love and support, which consists of my parents and Noah, my husband, and that is a huge factor.
I also feel like my gratitude is really huge into my positivity. No matter what I'm going through, I try and focus on what I'm grateful for. Okay. I'm really fortunate for my stable health, so let’s enjoy that. So, gratitude really helps to keep me grounded and I think is huge.
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