Just last year I was posting about my Thanksgiving, saying how I had chosen to eat over being comfortable and I was paying for it. This year it didn't even cross my mind that I might have to sacrifice my Thanksgiving gluttony for the sake of my poor intestines. Yes, this year was much different.

I made the whole meal for my family, with some help from ma and pap. It's now almost nine and I want to pass out but I was fine throughout the day. It felt great to be back to my old self again; making food and teaching my family a thing or two about the fine art of following a foodnetwork.com recipe. I decided this year with my new found attitude (thanks to the roids) to stray away from all of our old Thanksgiving staples like whipped potatoes with chive and the Campbells soup green bean casserole. Instead, I literally made everything from scratch, including frying my own crunchy onions for the green beans. It turned out to be quite a success. I couldn't be happier.

Just thinking about last year compared to this year makes me a little sad. Maybe because they were two totally different experiences and yet there is still so much uncertainty with my Crohn's. But I am going to be happy that in this moment, when I look back on Thanksgiving 2009, I will remember being with my family, sipping on my favorite wine all day, and laughing at the assignments I gave each of my family members who insisted on helping in some way. Cause if I think about it, holidays in the life of a chronically ill person are often referred to in terms of the status of your health at that particular time. It's always, "The Christmas right before Ellen got sick" or "The Thanksgiving Ellen spent in her room and in the bathroom". I am glad we can say different this year.

Just last night I got to spend time with friends I hadn't seen in ages who were my partners in crime in high school when I received my initial diagnoses at age 17. Granted I was a tad paranoid, a little bit in pain, and overall nervous about being so far away from home, I am so glad I saw them. I am thankful for my wonderful, amazing, and beautiful girlfriends. Old and new. It's amazing how you can not see someone for ages and the second they open their mouth, you're laughing and you remember why they were such a part of your life before. Times may change but there are certain people, regardless of where your respective lives have taken you, who always express the very sentiment you need at the perfect time. Things often come full circle in less time than you would have imagined.

I have wonderful male friends, too, who have been in my life essentially since birth. They may frustrate and annoy me, and many times I just don't get them but they always have my best interest at heart. I am thankful to have guys in my life who reassure me that my ileostomy is not the end of the world and point out the few advantages of having one in the most lighthearted way possible, who tell me my hair looks good because they know I'm self-conscious about it, and who constantly reassure me that I am beautiful, even on steroids.

And lastly, I can't help but turn this into a sap-fest because of how today feels. Just the milestone of knowing I felt a certain way at this very moment last year that I cannot even fathom today. To think at this time last year I had no idea what was ahead of me and now there is at least a plan in the works. Here I am typing to all of you with a full, pain-free belly. It makes me so thankful for my family because they are pretty much the most amazing people in the world. Every time I get upset my dad reminds me that Crohn's will not define my life. And that's not always an easy pill to swallow when you are in the midst of pain and anger but he is right.

There is much to look forward to in the coming months, much to be scared of, and much to be thankful for. Today, I am just thankful that I am in a place where I can find happiness even though I am still suffering from a horrible, debilitating disease. Nothing will ever be perfect but at least today, on a day surrounded my family and friends, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Faint and far it may be, but it is within my reach and I know the road I need to take to get there. I will get there. We will get there. And for that, I am grateful.


Grace, Money Smart Fashion said...

i wish i could have been there wednesday night! i miss you tons! Glad to hear you are feeling more like yourself.

Ellen said...

It wasn't the same without you! Hope we can see each other soon.