Chronic Illness · Crohns Disease · Fall 2016 · News · Social Media

What does Christmas mean to you?

What does Christmas mean to you? I’m not speaking in a religious sense, pause and take a moment to think about what Christmas really means to you. This time of year is so magical and wonderful for so many people. There’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes, last minute shopping, wrapping presents, awkward family moments and tons of holiday cheer. I absolutely love Christmas, its always been so special to me ever since I was a little girl.

As a child we weren’t rich my any means, but we always had the best Christmas’. My mother did it on her own and by the looks of our living room on Christmas morning you wouldn’t think that living inside that house was a single mom, raising 4 children on her own that worked so hard to make each Christmas the best it could me. My mother is the unofficial queen of stockings, they were always the favorite part of Christmas for my siblings and I…heck they still are! However, no matter my mothers income she was always the first person to step in and help those in need. She volunteered, bought Christmas presents for families in need, supported charities and made sure that we as children never felt the stress of the ways of the world.

This Christmas I invite you to shift your focus from the material things……the “I wants,” and “I NEED to have that!” I invite you to take a step outside of yourself and think of someone who may not be as blessed as you are.

You see, two years on Christmas day I was being discharged from the hospital from an emergency surgery that threatened my life and forever changed a chapter in the book of me. I’m not sharing this story with you to earn your sympathy, I’m sharing this story to help shift your perspective about this time of year.

On, December 9th 2014 I went in for a routine Small Bowel Resection, they removed the lower portion of my small intestine, and upper portion of my colon. (For those of you who don’t know, I have Crohn’s Diease). On December 17th, 2014 I was rushed into the Emergency Room with extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms I can’t remember. My initial surgery failed, my surgical anastamosis was leaking the contents of my intestines into my abdomen and I was septic. I was rushed in for emergency surgery in the middle of the night, I don’t remember much about that day it was a blur.

                                                     December 17, 2015

However I do remember waking up the next day with: a temporary ileostomy, drains, staples the entire length of my abdomen, and an NG tube. I was devastated. It took nearly two years out of my life. Two long years of pain, post op infections, another Crohn’s Flare, learning to care for an open wound that wasn’t healing properly, depression, anxiety, caring for and changing my ileostomy, dealing with the weight I gained from the steroids and the mental anquigsh that comes along with it.
One can never perfect living with a Chronic Illness, you never get used to living with a condition that doesnt have a cure. You simply bob and weave, you adapt and adjust. For the most part everyone saw me as a strong person, a survivor. On the inside I felt like my life was imploding. I’m not a survivor, the disease isn’t gone, I’m a warrior.

I used the angst and channeled it into something positive to help other people. It’s all of the other people that I met along the way that I learned from and will be forever thankful. When you face a pivotal moment in your life like that the material shit just doesnt matter anymore, no pun intended. As I progressed on September 15, 2015 I had my ileostomy reversed, my third major surgery in two years. Now: I’m independent, work a full time job, I blog, and I’m a brand ambassador for a few makeup and beauty companies.

September 15, 2015

If I can make it through one of the lowest points in my life and wake up with a smile on my face, so can you. If I can make it through that, I can do anything. Sometimes we need to stop, take a breather, and assess our surroundings. Take a break from being so busy all of the time and pay attention to the people around you. Feel, love, hope, dream.

This holiday season I ask you to pay it forward. The smallest gesture, smile, hug, or shake of a hand can change someone’s day. Think about those around you, are they struggling? What can you do to help them? Helping others is far more rewarding than any gift you can receive.

Pay for the toll for the car behind you, hold the door open, write a letter to someone who’s going through a rough time. When you’re at the grocery store, stop to help the mom with 4 kids load her groceries into the trunk. Buy a small little something for someone because you saw it and it reminded you of them. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee, mow your neighbors lawn, donate food to family in need in your neighborhood.

I could think of a thousand things we can do for others,  take a moment to step outside of your world to change another’s. It’s so simple but the impact is massive. Humans are complicated, we get frustrated and impatient. We can forget about what it really means to give a gift to someone, material or not.

We get so irritated over the littlest things, its honestly not worth expending the energy being angry. I’m 32, I live with my parents and drive a 10 year old car. Guess what? I’m happy, and thankful for what I have because a year ago I wouldn’t have been able to say any of those things.

If you wake up with a roof over head, food in your kitchen, clothes in your closet and a car to drive to work you’re blessed. Turn looking at what you don’t have into what you do have. Forget about the petty shit, its not worth it and life is short.

If you’ve stuck around to read this in entirety I thank you. If you’ve touched my life in any way, I thank you. I’m incredibly blessed and thankful for everyone that has loved and supported me through this journey. I ask you, if you’re out and about tomorrow or the next day: pay it forward, preform a random act of kindness for someone. Do something for someone else without telling them, and without recognition. Give with a giving heart and don’t expect anything in return. We can change the world one random act of kindness at a time, all we have to do is try.

The pic from 2015 was right before my surgery after being on steroids for 6 months. The pic from 2015 was taken exactly one year later, post-op.
December 2016

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, I love you guys!

Stay Fabulous! ✌🏻️

-XO Lyndsey


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