Written by Katie Steedly Curling, PhD, writer, and guest blogger for the Turner Syndrome Foundation (TSF). Katie writes monthly about her experiences living with Turner Syndrome. In this article, she reflects on how she made peace with and learned to be thankful for Turner Syndrome (TS).
Being grateful for everything and everyone is tough. Gratitude for things like our best friends, our families, chocolate, high thread count sheets, and bubble baths is easy. Gratitude for challenging people and situations is not. It requires a lot of reflection, courage, patience, and practice. Living with a chronic condition like TS and bracing for the next health issue can feel overwhelming. “Thank you” are often the last words I want to utter. But I strive to flip the pain and fear script. Would I have chosen to have TS? No. Given that I do, I choose to live positively. I hope that sharing the way in which I have made peace with TS–and yes, even become grateful for it–can help you in your journey towards gratitude.
“I am truly grateful for TS.”Katie, woman with TS
Each Day Is a Gift
TS is a major cause of miscarriages. Simply being alive is statistically improbable for those of us living with TS (only 1-2% of fetuses with TS actually survive to birth). That fact startles me every time I read it. That reality teaches me that each day is a true gift that is meant to be fully lived. TS frames both small and big things with a sense of wonder and possibility. In a world where we can live at a full-throttle pace, TS teaches me the value of slowing down. I am grateful for that.
My “watch me” attitude has repeatedly allowed me to defy odds, prove naysayers wrong, and build strength that I might not have been able to without TS. I have not let my diagnosis define my life goals. Nor have I let my test scores, which were never very good, determine what I wanted to learn. I have not stopped creating just because it takes me a little longer to do so. And I have not stopped dreaming because people like me were not supposed to dream. Several times in my life, I have felt like steel, and I am thankful for my TS steel.
TS has also given me a profound sense of compassion and empathy for others and an abiding belief in the value of our differences. Having always been different, I understand the battles all people face more completely. Telling my TS story has made me aware that everyone has a story. Our differences are our strengths. We are all on this journey to see and be seen, to love and be loved. TS is a reminder to be gentle with myself and others. I am grateful for the compassion that TS has taught me.
“Write your own story, and as you do so, consider being thankful for TS or other challenges you face.”Katie
As you sit down this month to give thanks, consider the sum of your experiences. Think about all of it. Think about how your life has been affected by bests and worsts, ups and downs, falling apart and coming back together. Write your own story, and as you do so, consider being thankful for TS or other challenges you face.
Written by Katie Steedly Curling, a woman with TS, and edited by Susan Herman, TSF volunteer blog post editor and translator.
To read more of Katie’s monthly series and other posts about a variety of topics, visit our blog.
To learn more about living with TS, visit TSF’s website.