The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino

 

Please take the time to read Christine Miserandino’s personal story and analogy of what it is like to live with sickness or disability.

Click HERE to download “The Spoon Theory” in PDF format.

The Spoon Theory

by Christine Miserandino www.butyoudontlooksick.com

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

Cartoon image of Christine Miserandino holding a spoon
As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.

At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.

I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.

Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.

She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become?

I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn’t even started yet. I’ve wanted more “spoons” for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.

I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said ” No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.” I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.

I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s “spoons”, but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less “spoons”. I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on “spoons”, because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.

We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.

When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.

I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared.”

Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count “spoons”.

After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can’t go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”

Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my “spoons”.

© Christine Miserandino

*We have English, Spanish, French and Hebrew translations of “The Spoon Theory” available.

You may NOT publish or re-print this article without the written permission of Christine Miserandino and ButYouDontLookSick.com. Thank you.

Now you can purchase small and large poster prints of “The Spoon Theory” from our Online Store! These posters will make a perfect “get well gift, or friendship/ I understand gift.” We also think it would make a perfect addition to any doctor’s office, or support group meeting room.

The Spoon Theory Large Poster – $22.99

The Spoon Theory Small Poster – $18.99

Most importantly, get one for yourself!

©2010 butyoudontlooksick.com
  • Mary

    Thank you for this idea. I have been struggling for years to explain the walking wound syndrome and no one gets it. I was in a coma after an allergic reaction to a medication and woke up feeling as if I am still in a dream state. Many of my nerves are damaged and others have transient nerve damage. Some days I can see other days the world is a haze. I have constant fatigue, partial memory loss about my childhood,and partial control of my hands. I know when I have done too much because I start to shake uncontrollably. Even still I am in the RN program at school. I pace myself and do what I can. Sometimes it is enough.

  • [email protected]

    not sure what can be done in that case. Hope your day flows well.

  • Sherry

    Thanks for the e-hug!! Hm, I tried deleting but couldn’t do it. I think because I am posting as a guest. Oops…

  • Sherry

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s super cute! Enjoy redeeming your spoons. :)

    I wouldn’t mind some metaphorical spoons (ie. mental support and help with my day), but my friend meant real spoons. He thought he was being funny. He wasn’t.

  • Jenny

    I love this theory and it really has made me look at my life different. I’m 37 and have fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, Grave’s Disease, and a few more. Thank you!!

  • http://www.twitter.com/meekodev MeekoDev

    Thank you, I read this to my fiancee, and he fell asleep halfway through. He was interested , as I do every late night, So I’m using part of my last spoon right now, as I do every night at this time.. But, having Huntington”s Disease I save one for late night on my computer. With HD Insdominia is part of the package.

  • CarolineMFR

    I need to tell the spoon theory to many. I have RA, fibromyalgia and cancer twice, never mind degenerating disks in my back and OA in my neck and knees.

  • Nancy

    As a person living with a disability, (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and loss of cognitive function from a brain injury), this was one of the most simple, and yet thorough, explanations of what it is like to live with a disability that I’ve ever read. I’m absolutely certain that the next time I’m deciding whether I can (a) run an errand, (b) vacuum, (c) mow the grass, (d) any other chore that requires too much energy, that I’ll be thinking of the Spoon Theory. Excellent! So well written, and such honesty.

  • Christie

    I explained this theory to my sister, and she actually did give me spoons as a present. Not for Christmas, but for my birthday, and it was the most thoughtful gift ever!

    I explained this theory to her (I have Lyme), and she suddenly understood. So for my birthday, she made me a ring of paper spoons (like coupons kids sometimes give their parents). They had things written on them with favors I could ask of her… laundry, making a meal, shopping, cleaning, vaccuuming, etc., even a massage for when my pain is really bad. She handed it to me and said here, now you have more spoons to start every day with. Maybe if you got spoons for Christmas, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. :-)

  • Belle Page

    THANK YOU….NOW I have something that really spells it out and when people stop understanding, I’ll be breaking out the spoons!

  • RosePhoenix

    Thank you. I’ll bring it up with my GI doctor. He does a lot of research.

  • dacmichigan

    I have fibroymyalgia/cfs plus more, that’s how I ended up here today. I am in too much pain with fatigue to type everything but I will try to paste something here that may help someone. These are things that I’m very knowledgeable about but have not been able to access or try yet, finances being a huge part of the hold up. I hope this may be something that can help you soon or down the road:

    LDN (low dose naltrexone) is effective and safe treatment that many more forward thinking gastroenterologists are prescribing for Crohn’s patients, and it is used for MS, fibromyalgia (reference Stanford University study), ME, RA, Lupus, Lyme and basically anything that involves a dysfunctional immune system. It may not be a miracle for everyone but it is worth trying if you haven’t already, look for some info at LDN.org and many facebook groups. Many doctors do not understand this medication or even know about it, but many do. One of my local gastroenterologists prescribes it and it is very helpful for many people with a whole host of autoimmune disorders as well. This is Low Dose not regular dose Naltrexone and it is only about $30 for a months supply from reputable compounding pharmacies. Also, if you have financial means, look for a Functional Medicine doctor that actually looks for the causes for illnesses and treats holistically, many of them are MD’s and DO’s and also naturopaths as well. http://WWW.DRAMYMYERS.com (she’s an MD that practices functional medicine in Austin, Texas).
    Also, check out Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Summit and http://www.autoimmunesummit.com going on right now until Tuesday Nov. 18th online for free (you only have to pay if you want to get it on storage media). Plus, SuzyCohen.com for more info to start.

  • dacmichigan

    I really do relate to what you said, people just don’t understand, it’s extremely disheartening and frustrating at times.

  • dacmichigan

    I have fibroymyalgia/cfs plus more, that’s how I ended up here today. I am in too much pain with fatigue to type everything but I will try to paste something here that may help. These are things that I’m very knowledgeable about but have not been able to access or try yet, finances being a huge part of the hold up. I hope this may be something that can help you soon or down the road:

    LDN (low dose naltrexone) is effective and safe treatment that many more forward thinking gastroenterologists are prescribing for Crohn’s patients. It may not be a miracle for everyone but it is worth trying if you haven’t already, look for some info at LDN.org and many facebook groups. Many doctors do not understand this medication or even know about it, but many do. One of my local gastroenterologists prescribes it and it is very helpful for many people with a whole host of autoimmune disorders as well. This is Low Dose not regular dose Naltrexone and it is only about $30 for a months supply from reputable compounding pharmacies. Also, if you have financial means, look for a Functional Medicine doctor that actually looks for the causes for illnesses and treats holistically, many of them are MD’s and DO’s and also naturopaths as well. http://WWW.DRAMYMYERS.com (she’s an MD that practices functional medicine in Austin, Texas).
    Also, check out Dr. Amy Myers Autoimmune Summit and http://www.autoimmunesummit.com going on right now until Tuesday Nov. 18th online for free (you only have to pay if you want to get it on storage media). Plus, SuzyCohen.com for more info and resources just to start.

  • dacmichigan

    LDN (low dose naltrexone) is effective and safe treatment that many more forward thinking gastroenterologists are prescribing for Crohn’s patients. It may not be a miracle for everyone but it is worth trying if you haven’t already, look for some info at LDN.org and many facebook groups. Many doctors do not understand this medication or even know about it, but many do. One of my local gastroenterologists prescribes it and it is very helpful for many people with a whole host of autoimmune disorders as well. This is Low Dose not regular dose Naltrexone and it is only about $30 for a months supply from reputable compounding pharmacies. Also, if you have financial means, look for a Functional Medicine doctor that actually looks for the causes for illnesses and treats holistically, many of them are MD’s and DO’s and also naturopaths as well. http://WWW.DRAMYMEYERS.com (she’s an MD that practices functional medicine in Austin, Texas).

  • Jan

    lovin this. I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, something I never heard about before and can relate to the spoon theory totally

  • Janice Buckton

    Lovin the spoon theory. I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, something I had never heard of before and it can be very hard when you look ok but really don’t feel it

  • Emily

    This is a great way for me to explain to people. I am young, 25 and have lupus fibromyalgia, sjogrens, RA, and carpul tunnel and a few others. People don’t believe or understand how at my age I can be so sick. This is a great way for me to explain to my kids, { not so descriptive) how mommy feels. Thank you so much.

  • ali

    I have lyme disease, babesia, MSIDS, degenerative disc disease, and seizure disorder because the lyme is attacking my nervous system. I can’t get disability. My ex left me due to “lifestyle differences”. I had to resign from my job. I am educated and will end up homeless if no one helps me. I have an autistic 4 year old and get $60 a week in child support because my attorney was afraid I’d have a seizure on the stand. Why won’t anyone help me? I’ve been to mayo clinic and spent the last of my money there. Nothing. I need someone to help. Please! I almost wish I had cancer.

  • Jeanine

    I love your spoon theory:-) it is my life now.. I have RSD

  • [email protected]

    (((hug))) I think you can delete the incomplete one by clicking the down arrow to the upper right (if anyone else does so it may get you in trouble with the monitors)

  • amandamichelle

    thank you for saying this. my husband is chronically sick and i’m the one always standing (or rather, running). it’s exhausting because I can never have a “down” day. i have fought the temptation to become bitter and still love him.

  • amandamichelle

    thank you for sharing. my husband has chronic pain and fatigue with a few other symptoms, but he’s never been diagnosed because most doctors don’t take him seriously. we are no longer in the U.S. but i’d be grateful if you can correspond with me to figure out what might be his problem. my email is [email protected]

  • Sherry

    Sorry, hit post by accident. Here’s the whole thing.

    This is a perfect description. I love it! I’ve had chronic back problems since I was eleven. Try getting sympathy or any understanding from anyone when you’re ‘young and healthy’. I’ve tried to explain to numerous people in the past how I have to plan my days and think about everything in the world that I’m doing. Making it a metaphor like this with something being physically taken away is so much easier to understand and relate to. Thank you!

    That said, I shared this article with six people.
    – One person responded very favorably, cried, told me she understood me so much better now! That felt really good.
    – Another person cracked a joke about spoons, then made it all about him as he went on to describe how he has learned to balance his own time and is so happy now. (Ummm, congratulations?)
    – A third said that he would give me spoons for Christmas. (WTF?)
    – A fourth person said that I need to learn to find activities that will help me get more spoons. (Totally Missed The Point)
    – Two people just didn’t even reply.

    I guess one out of six isn’t terrible. But. Overall, disappointing… I cried today.

  • Sherry

    This is a perfect description. I love it! I have chronic back problems. I’ve tried to explain to numerous people in the past how I have to plan my days and think about everything in the world that I’m doing. Making it a metaphor like this with something being physically taken away is so much easier to understand and relate to. Thank you!

    That said, I shared this article with six people. One person responded very favorably, cried, told me she understood me so much better now! Then another person said

  • Roz

    I LOVE this!! I have Fibromyalgia,Degenerative Disc Disease, severe arthritis everywhere, Sjorgrens, Cervical Spondyolosis,and Lupus and this is a great way to describe any type of hidden illness

  • http://the-writingonthe-wall.blogspot.com Jen C. Flynn

    Depression, ADD, as well as chronic knee pain (I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m arthritic) and tendonitis. I have good days, bad days, and interesting days. My ADD can depict just how focused I am going to be, my depression depicts how motivated I am to do the things I love to do (and affects my ADD). My knee pain determines how long I’m at the gym, or how difficult stairs are going to be, especially on cold, damp days, and the tendonitis determines how long I am able to write and type. I make the most of it, and I, fortunately, have friends who understand, as well as have a great sense of humour for when my ADD goes haywire. Your spoon theory is an awesome way of explaining things to those who might not otherwise understand. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Mlissa

    Asthma, rheumatoid arthritis AND fibromyalgia here. I really love this Spoon Theory! This can help me explain to people even if I don’t have spoons nearby, I can use something else business cards or pennies. The idea is great.

  • Magan B.

    I’m using the Spoon Thoery from now on. I was Diagnosed with Lupus when I was 16, and it was most tiresome to have to explain at that age to my friends that I could not go out at night because I have school in the morning and knew that I would be a mess the next day. For a long time my biggest pet peeve was when I told people I was tired and they are like ” oh yeah I get it. I’m tired too.” Really you don’t, it’s not the same at all. I’m 24 now and think about it every day, every hour, but I put a smile on and do the best I can do, it was a hard lesson to learn that i needed to slow down, and to not take that rare bout of energy in the morning and use it Stupidly.

  • RosePhoenix

    I am so sorry to hear that. I have Crohn’s Disease, and I know how that feels. I hope that one day a cure can be found, because both the disease and the medicines are horrible.

  • Teresa Pedicone

    Of course, any chronic illness…

  • Teresa Pedicone

    Crohn’s too when I’m flaring like today. So sick…

  • Andy M

    Brain injuries, too

  • Kar

    I love this. I deal with anxiety and chronic fatigue for the past nearly 6 years. While my recovery from both has been a slow uphill trend, I have had plenty of set backs. And trying to explain to people why I can’t always do things with them or why My punctuality has been out the window, has been very difficult. Some people still don’t get it. They think if I just make up my mind to do things in spite if physical or mental pain or fAtigue, I’ll so
    Somehow snap out of it. This blog nailed it! I need lots more time for rest and patience gor myself in order to get better. My prognosis is up in the air. Dr’s have no idea if I’ll battle my illnesses for the rest of my life or if they will disappear. Right now, I’m happy to say that I’m progressively mors productive as time goes on. But it’s taken a lot if work. Experimenting with what foids and activities help me and which ones don’t. But I still have no idea where I’ll be health wise in a year from now. Will I be stronger and more productive than I am today? Will zi bd the same ? Or will I have regressed? One thing is for sure. I won’t give up hope and I ‘be learned that some tasks that used to be a priority can ‘t take priority over rest when it ‘a truly needed. It’s ok to NOT always have every chore done, thank you for this discription! It really does describe many invisible illnesses.

  • Julie Drake

    any invisible illness…including cfs

  • Cath

    Does this apply to cfs patients? i feel i connect and relate to this but i just wanted to know

  • Natasha

    I am 20 years old and a junior in college living with lupus. I was diagnosed my freshman year when I was 18 years old. This so well explains my day to day life and depicts how difficult it is for my friends and family to understand my daily restraints. Thank you so much for sharing

  • Katie Troisi

    This is written beautifully. I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and I hear people with it talk about spoons but I never knew why until now. This is a great way to explain the struggles we go through every day. Since I am 16 and most of my friends are close in age this is a great way to explain to them since I can’t ever seem to get through to them.

  • Dom

    Very good analogy but misses one thing. The planning of the day costs spoons too.

  • BunnyKnows714

    Bless you, for sharing your story. Keep fighting. You are still here, and that is more important than anything, and you sound like an amazing person and great mom.

  • BunnyKnows714

    Brilliantly put. I love how it applies to other illnesses and can help patients with chronic but inconsistent illnesses explain their life to others. Thank you.

  • Sara

    I loved reading this! I have been battling Crohns and other things since I was 18, I am now 40 and a single mom. I think the way you explained this was beautiful, and incredibly spot on! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Mary

    Is there a book available or just the article in the 2 pg. pdf format? I looked at Amazon & couldn’t find it. And don’t see any mention of an actual book, so just was wondering.

  • Misty Frederick

    Best explanation I have seen in over 20 years of having this dreadful illness! Thank you.

  • Lupe

    What I get from this is that although I only have 5 digits on my hand (4 fingers & 1 thumb) you still expect me to be able to produce 7 digits on my hand. Spoons isn’t about getting up or staying down. We’re glad that you have that option. Those of us who suffer don’t. Our illness has taken it away from us. You speak as if we just get knocked down once & accept defeat but that isn’t the case. The amount of strength that it takes for you to be knocked down and pull yourself up 100 times is the same amount of strength that it takes for me to get out of bed and open my bedroom door where I must pause to gather additional strength and push myself mentally and physically harder to get from the bedroom door to the toilet. Please don’t speak as if we’re weak. Also BTW if we remain on the ground after being knocked down and we don’t have the ability to get back up then we definitely don’t have the ability to count spoons.

    I brushed a feather across a family member’s leg and asked her how it felt. She replied it was soft. I then gently rubbed my fingers on her leg and asked if the way I rubbed was soft like the Feather. She replied that it was. I then dug my nails into her leg and before I could drag t them down her leg she yelled in pain and stopped me. After I apologized I told her that the pain that she felt is an example of the pain I feel every moment of everyday. The difference is she was able to do something to stop her pain I can’t.

  • Katie

    When I was 14 I starting experiencing chronic pain in my joints. I have had six orthopedic surgeries so far in my life and I know I am not finished. I am a physician, I have been in practice for just over one year now, and tell some of my patients to look up The Spoon Theory. Those who lead healthy lives do not understand what it is like to battle chronic illness. I love being a physician that has gone through the battle (and still fights the battle) with a rare disease. My patients cannot tell me I don’t understand what it’s like; I can relate to them. I find immense joy in helping those who are fighting a battle, just like I have been. This story is inspiring not only to those fighting disease, but also those who have lead healthy lives.