I Am Valuable and You Are Too

I have been sitting here staring at this post for a long time. Should I delete it? Should I share it? And then I decided, I have nothing to lose. So here goes.

Everyone has a story. Most people keep their story private. They fear sharing will change the way we look at them, chase us away, make us judge them, leave them vulnerable.

I've been pretty open about my chronic migraine disease. This neurological disease has 100% changed my life and the lives of my loved ones. And, yes, it changed the way people look at me, chased some people away, caused others to judge me and has left me extremely vulnerable. There is, however, a handful of people who I've helped along this journey, and that makes it worth it. That is why I'm sharing this with you today. I want to help someone else. I want the last 15 years of my life with migraines to matter.

When you look at me, I don't want you to see my disease. I want you to see my strength despite the pain. I don't want you to see me as weak. I don't want you to see me as lazy. I don't want you to see me as antisocial. I want you to remember the Keena you knew before. I'm still in here.

I have a medical story and it doesn't begin or end with migraine disease. I also battle psoriatic arthritis, spinal stenosis, disc degeneration, fibromyalgia, and depression. Three of my doctors suspect Lupus that has not fully presented itself yet.

I fight a battle every day. And I don't want your pity. I want your prayers and your understanding.

Oh the mommy guilt I feel. I'm not a bad mom. If I'm not at my daughter's dance competition this weekend or I'm not able to drive my child to piano, don't judge me, because you couldn't possibly think less of me than I do of myself in those moments. If you love my children, maybe you could include them in things you do with your kids, so they don't feel so left out.

Then there is the misery of my self-image. Many of you remember the skinny Keena and probably wonder what happened. Oh how I miss her. I'm not overweight because I'm sitting around eating bonbons. I take medications that cause weight gain and won't let my body let go of the weight no matter what I do. I'm trying very hard to accept myself just like I am while making the healthiest choices possible.

When you see me and I look "fine" or act "fine," be aware that those of us with chronic pain learn to hide it well. What you won't see are the days, maybe weeks, it takes me to recover from that one afternoon outing. No, it's not fair, but it's reality.

I'm young. I'm 44. I should not have these health problems and there should be a cure or help. And YES, it makes me angry. Very angry. I fight hard. I try hard. Sometimes, I give up. But, I eventually pick myself back up and dust myself off and keep pushing forward.

Last night, I had this moment of clarity. I realized that I'm valuable. Yep, all of this pain had made me feel like I was a shell of a person with absolutely no worth. That's the hardest part. When you go from a working professional in a thriving career, and an always on-the-go wife and mom, to a lump in the recliner, it's not a vacation, it's PRISON.

If you are fighting chronic illness, please don't let it take your self-worth. If you have a loved one with chronic illness, please build them up and show them they are still valuable to you. Half the battle is knowing you have something to fight for.

I hope my story will help someone in some way. May God richly bless you.

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