Chronic Illness, Gratitude and a Positive Attitude

compiled and edited by Sarah Downing, ThyroidChange Blog Editor and creator of the website Butterflies & Phoenixes

As patients with chronic illness, we often feel that we have been dealt a bad hand. It’s hard to be grateful or thankful when we see those around us seemingly living normal and fulfilling lives whilst our lives, thanks to our incredibly frustrating health conditions, have been put on hold. However, we mustn’t forget that there are always things we can be thankful for – whilst we may not have attained the state of health we might wish for ourselves, there are often blessings to be found in our everyday lives, so it’s vital to keep our eyes open and not allow negativity to cloud our perspectives. Today is a day of thanks in the US and so this Thanksgiving I asked various thyroid patients to contribute a few words on what they are thankful for. Whether you are from the US or elsewhere, I hope you will find their thoughts both uplifting and inspiring …

“I am thankful for good docs.”
Stacey Anderson, Hashimoto’s and Lupus

“I am thankful for my beautiful family. I am also very thankful and blessed to have found this group (Hashimoto’s 411). Since I have found this group, I am almost going on one week of being out of bed and without a nap!! Before I was bedridden. So I am very thankful to all you Hashi sufferers for all your love, support, and wisdom!”
Melissa Bruner, Hashimoto’s

“I am thankful for my wonderful, supportive husband and my precious children.”
Amy Levert, Hashimoto’s

“I’m thankful for the power of social media which has provided struggling patients with support from others walking in their shoes, patient advocates, physicians, other healthcare professionals, pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies striving to restore these patients’ health.”
Debra Shultz, hypothyroidism from RAI for Graves’

“I am thankful for my fellow patients. Suffering has brought so many changes to my life. The best change is that I found a warm, loving community who truly understands. Thank you.”
Michelle Bickford, Hashimoto’s

“I’m thankful for my family, the Hashimoto’s 411 group and the support I get from here.”
Janice Ingram, Hashimoto’s and prediabetes

“I am thankful for a great doctor and helpful pharmacists.”
Kristin Kohl, Hashimoto’s and endometriosis.

“I’m thankful for this wonderful outlet (Hashimoto’s 411) and support mechanism. It’s been 12 years since my diagnosis and 10 years since my total thyroidectomy. The road has been long and every day is still a learning experience. Although I’ve lost some friends and family along this journey, I’m grateful for the new ones I’ve made and the old ones who have stuck around.
Audrey Letts Milotakis, thyroid cancer survivor, Hashimoto’s and insulin resistance.

“I’m thankful for an extremely wonderful, loving, caring and generous family and friends network. Thankful for everyone who has passed through my life for whatever reason. Thankful for groups like this (Hashimoto’s 411) to help me through this journey. Thank You.”
Melissa Dalton, Hashimoto’s, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis

“I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease ten years ago and have had my thyroid out for the past four years. I’m truly grateful for ‘Daisy’ Elaine Moore, the lone voice in the desert at that time, who worked with Mary Shomon to get the word out about Graves’ disease. My TSH fluctuated constantly due to having both Graves’ and Hashi’s antibodies and, even after trips to the emergency room with tachycardia, where the cardiologist on staff said I couldn’t have Graves’ because my eyes weren’t bugging out, I remained undiagnosed until I took matters into my own hands and demanded that my GP let me see an endocrinologist. My GP rolled her eyes and made the recommendation. I found a researching endo nearby who then saved my life.  
Kit Kellison, Hashimoto’s and Graves’

“I am thankful for the courage to leave my abusive marriage and go back to college to study for my MA.”
Gina Lee, Hashimoto’s

“I am thankful for discovering the Hashi’s-gluten connection and for having the guidance of a great functional medicine doctor. Through diet and exercise, I’ve lost 50 pounds and feel much more like my younger, more energetic self.”
Deborah Lynn Felts, Hashimoto’s

“I am glad to be making progress with alternative medicine, thanks mostly to communities like this one online (For Thyroid Patients Only), and all the support and suggestions from people here.”
Meli Davis, Hashimoto’s

“I am thankful for all the medical knowledge I have gained this year, for the health that I do have and for the answers I will receive about the other health issues when God feels it is the right time.  I am also very thankful for my family and the friends I have made along the way on this medical journey … without the multiple Facebook groups I belong to I would still be in poor health.”
Kim Wilder, hypothyroidism and other undiagnosed medical problems

“I am thankful for a supportive and wonderful husband and children. I am also thankful to have found this site (Stop The Thyroid Madness), and thankful that after 20 years of suffering I finally feel like I am beginning to make progress and fight this disease.”
Erin Thurman, Hashimoto’s

“I am extremely thankful for my family, friends and even strangers who have helped me with my journey with thyroid cancer.  It has been a long process so far. Without them I do not think I would be able to have the positive attitude that I do have.”
Katy Guerra, thyroid cancer

“I’m thankful for newborn screening. My boys were both diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism through their newborn screen.”
Blythe Clifford, Hashimoto’s patient

“I am thankful for my super supportive husband and children. My husband goes with me to every appointment, thinks of questions to ask, researches to stay informed on thyroid cancer, and never says anything negative about how I feel or about my health. My children do all they can to help on my bad days.”
Rhonda Fredricks, fighting papillary/follicular variant with metastasis to 17 lymph nodes in neck and medial compartment

“I am thankful for everything.  I am thankful to be living in a time where equality is being sought for everyone.  I am thankful for my family and their endless love and support.  I am thankful for my friends, my second family. I am thankful to have a full time job in a time where even a part time job can be hard to come by.”
Megan Campeau, Hashimoto’s

“I am so thankful for a job. I am thankful and grateful that I have health insurance and money to support myself. I am so thankful that I am almost three years cancer free (January 27, 2014) and getting my integrative medical needs slowly under control. When money has been zero to nothing, you are thankful for many little things that only those who have been in the same shoes can identify and empathize with. I am thankful for this great team of ThyroidChange volunteers, supporters, doctors, and the friendships I have developed. I am sure we will all gather and be thankful for each other at some point. This is a wonderful family.”
Michelene O’Neil, Hashimoto’s and thyroid cancer

“This year, I am thankful for my third baby who will be born any day. My hypothyroidism has been well controlled throughout my pregnancy, and I am so thankful for my supportive OBGYN who let me stay on T3 and was proactive about raising my medication dose.”
Sarah Young, thyroid cancer

“I have much to be thankful for in my life. My family whom I love. And especially my dear son Ryan who motivates me to get up each day and strive to do better. All of my local friends, many whom I have known since childhood, who mean so much to me.  Also, the online thyroid community that is filled with some of the most loving, intelligent and STRONG people that I have ever had the privilege to know. Yes, I am blessed!”
Beth Jones, hypothyroidism and T3 resistance

“I feel thankful and blessed that I have had the opportunity to travel and see the world. The silver lining in my illness has been the love I have received from so many of my wonderful thyroid friends, many of whom I have been lucky enough to meet in person. Every day I marvel at the kindness of strangers who do nice things without expecting anything in return. I am thankful for my friends and family who know and appreciate the real me and don’t expect me to change into someone I am not. I am thankful to be in a country where I have access to Natural Desiccated Thyroid and integrative doctors who will prescribe it. I am thankful to be surrounded by beauty in the town in which I live, as well as the actions of the people around me. Many of those I encounter never cease to inspire me.”
Sarah Downing, hypothyroidism

I hope that this compilation of gratitude has inspired you personally. I suspect that if we look, even when we are in the direst of circumstances, we may find that there is always something to be thankful for, and of course we should never forget that a positive attitude is extremely important for our healing progression.

I would love to hear from you readers – what are you thankful for and what would you like to share with the rest of our readers?

However you may be spending this day, whether or not it is a national holiday for you, I wish you the greatest of blessings and inspiration!

By Sarah Downing

My name is Sarah. I was born and grew up in England and currently live in Düsseldorf, Germany, with my fiancé Corey and my cuddly cat Biscuit. I work as a translator and writer for my own company Aardwolf Text Services ( and I love vintage clothes and music, as well as singing karaoke.


  1. I’m thankful to our Heavenly Father God, who gives me the strength, and perseverance,to carry on through this very emotionally trying, physically demanding, thyroid condition. Many days,I simply pray, “Please God, give me the strength to get one leg out of bed”, and He does, and of course the other one follows and I’m UP! That’s a great beginning to any day!!! I have so much to be thankful for in the midst of this illness. My illness has been God-sent, I have grown in my faith and resilience to cope with a chronic illness (and all the ‘baggage’ that goes with it) and my reliance on God! For this I am most grateful! I have grown so much closer to God. My roots of faith in His sovereign power have grown deep and wide and continue to grow on a daily basis.

    I’m so Thankful for my PC Dr. who has discovered, I have a severe Vit. D deficiency and prescribed Vit. D2 which has been a giant step in remission, and has given more energy than I have had in 4 years.

    I’m grateful for everything I have, food in my stomach, a warm roof over my head, medical care, a great family, God has provided all I need. Special thanks for my best friend and special kitty, Oliver Twist, whom has been a saving grace, he is a loyal,lovable, and loving companion and great company on days where I have not been able to get out of the house ( because of weakness, fatigue and brain fog, and depression), sometimes 3-4 days at a time.

    I’m thankful to all the people working diligently to improve thyroid awareness,and care! So,So, thank for Sarah J. Downing, all she does to improve awareness, her blog, and just “knowing” her( even if just through her blog and our endeavors online). She has been a great inspiration! I thank you, Miss Sarah, for this chance you’ve given all of us to express what we are thankful for today, on this day of thanksgiving,2013.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    Special blessings to Sarah, have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. I know New Hope is so beautiful this time of year, any time of year!! I’m so happy you’ve included living there as one of the many things you’re thankful for! It IS such a beautiful place!

    Shelly Crocker, subtotal thyroidectomy, 2009.

    1. Dear Shelley,

      Thank you for sharing these kind words. I am glad that your faith in going has helped you/is helping you through this illness.

      Does your doctor prescribe D2 or D3? D3 is generally deemed to be more effective.

      I love that your kitty is called Oliver Twist. You must be a Charles Dickens fan?

      Thank you so much for your kind words to me. I am happy if this blog gives people cheer and hope:-). We really should meet in person one of these days!



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