Don’t Let Chronic Illness Steal Your Dream

Changed DreamsI love competition shows. Top Chef, Survivor, Spartan, Next Food Network Star….the list goes on…. My husband says it’s my competitive nature, but I think it has more to with being able to observe the tenacity of the human spirit.

I saw a shining example of that tenacity a couple of weeks ago when we were watching America’s Got Talent. There was a young lady on there, Mandy Harvey, who all her life wanted to be a singer. At the age of 18, she lost her hearing. She said at first she felt like giving up but then she decided, “I want to do more with my life than just give up.” She was appearing on America’s Got Talent to sing! You can imagine (or see here) how it went. Talk about amazing!

When she was done, she said something that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind — “It’s not the dream that I always had but that’s okay, because I showed up and I did something that I never thought I could do.” You know what? I want to be able to say that!

When I think about those of us living with chronic illness, I don’t think any of us would say that our dream included living with something that takes so much from us. The one thing it can’t take away is our ability to dream, and dream big.

We may not be able to do all the things we used to but that doesn’t mean we should give up on our dreams. Our “big dream” may need to be tweaked a bit to fit in with our new reality, or it may need to be a springboard for a new dream, but either way, it’s important that we have one. Maybe it seems like all of your previous dreams are completely out of reach. If so, look for the common thread through all of them — for example, my common thread was that I wanted to help people — and use that to build your new dream.

Our dreams today may be different than the ones we had before chronic illness, but they may end up being bigger, better, and having a larger impact on the world than we even imagined!

What’s your big dream? Please share!





  1. Thank you for this post. I certainly can relate to this and it helps me to remember that we shouldn’t give up on our dreams, but maybe modify them. Life is still wonderful.

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