Yesterday, I was thinking about what this Christmas means for me. I realized that there is no gift that I could receive greater than what has already come to me. Prior to July, I had suffered silently for two years without a diagnosis. Once we found out that I had a serious condition, we shared that information with others. The response, to me, is still overwhelming. I know that thousands of prayers were offered on our behalf. A friend at work made me a rosary, another lit candles in the Catholic Church. Our names have been in prayer circles in Evangelical Christian churches. In my own church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have been remembered in temples and chapels across this country. Friends have fasted for us. Many have expressed love and support in so many ways in the last six months.
It is impossible to describe the cumulative effect on our lives of the combined faith of so many wonderful people. We have been so very blessed. I can witness that in every step we have taken, miracles have occurred. But the greatest miracle to me is to realize the magnitude of the love that I have felt from so many. We go through our lives and don't always realize how many people we have touched, how many remember and care about us. I am just one person, and yet, my life has been enriched in having known or met thousands of other individuals over my 49 years. Each person I have known is unique and has added to the person that I have become. I will never feel alone.
Barbie and I also recognize the impact of faith and prayer as it as blessed our family. Our children our at peace as they know that we will continue to do well and remain together as a family. We have felt this power carry us through each step in our journey.
People often ask how I am doing. Barbie will attest that I do have some difficult days, often related to side effects from the medications, but, overall, I am doing great. I feel no pain. Blood tests, procedures and even surgery have not really hurt, because each one has either increased our understanding of my diagnosis, or served to reverse its effects on my health. I feel I can handle anything if it helps to improve my condition. Also, I would rather have a diagnosis of a potentially fatal disease than to remain in darkness as to my perpetual failing health. This light of discovery has additionally lit the path that confirms I am in God's care.
I have learned much from this experience. I have completely put my trust in God. I may not live as long as I expected to, but I will live as long as I need to. Also, given the faith of so many on our behalf, I expect to live longer than my diagnosis normally allows. But, what I have really learned is that I would rather live just one day feeling loved than 1000 days feeling alone.
This is the greatest gift I could have ever received which makes this the most wonderful Christmas ever.
To all who have shared their thoughts and prayers on our behalf, I thank you from the depths of my heart and wish you a very joyous Christmas.