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Today a friend my mine posted a lovely picture from her garden on Facebook with the caption, “Bloom where you’re planted…” I immediately thought…”what a great idea for a blog post.” So, thanks Cheryl.

Anyway, this idea of blooming where you are planted is an interesting one when you have a chronic illness because, you actually just feel like you are suffocating among the weeds of all your nagging, nasty, mean, ugly symptoms. I realized after reading this quote today that it’s up to me to weed my garden, to tend to my needs, to grow despite the weight of it all.

With sarcoidosis, what does weeding my garden mean? Well, it means changing bad habits and making healthier choices. It means clearing away unnecessary stress. It means changing my diet. It means getting enough sleep. It means regular daily exercise. It requires tenacity and vigilance and persistence because the weeds in my garden grow quickly and without mercy, attempting to snuff out all beauty and color in my life.

Tending to my needs means finding good healthcare professionals who understand my disease and listening to them. It means learning to be a good advocate for myself. It means figuring out how to live a peaceful life. It means letting go of what doesn’t matter. It means striving to be happy regardless of my losses. It means learning to say no without guilt. It means listening to what my body is trying to tell me. It required disciple because self care feels selfish but learning to care for myself is really the only true way that I can then care for anyone else.

Despite all that my disease has done to me and taken from me, I really do try to bloom right where I am, in the thick of its choking weeds. I rarely stop to give myself credit for how hard I have worked at accepting this life and making the most of it. The choice is really mine to make. I can be stifled or I can reach for the sun. I may not have asked for this to happen to me but I am rising to the challenge and I haven’t withered yet. I think I really have bloomed where this disease planted me and that is a beautiful thought.