Waking up is hard, if I was even lucky enough to capture some sleep. Upon waking, I realize that nothing has changed. Here’s something I haven’t told you all – I often complain about the “regular” people of the world not knowing what the word chronic means, but guess what? It’s not just them. It’s me too. Temporarily, anyway.

Every morning I’m reminded of what chronic means. MS has been an excellent teacher in those regards. I’m generally grateful for the lessons, though, because without my struggles I’d have been much slower to discover my strengths.

The blissful moments of sleep where I get to forget all the pain and sickness are truly a gift, but remembering is harsh. A daily slap in the face, followed up with a kick in the knees and a punch in the gut.

Among the first lessons of my MS journey was to recognize and appreciate the differences between good and bad days. One recent day was bad, a more horrible a day than I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t sleep more than an hour or two. I had to wake up and get out of bed when all I wanted to do was go back to sleep, but I couldn’t because I had a doctor appointment before work. Waking up is way too hard to do.

That morning I lay around in so much pain. I seriously considered a trip to the ER, even though I already had a scheduled appointment with my doctor. An ER trip is a huge step for me, and most spoonies. There’s this whole thought process – will the doctor take me seriously? Will they just think I’m here for pills? Will they even have heard of my rare diseases, the ones other than my MS? It is so odd watching doctors Google your diseases.

I didn’t go to the ER. I stayed in bed a bit longer and made a whiny social media post about my pain. My muscles stiffened up and spasmed even more. I’m fairly sure my wrist popped completely out of joint. My head kept on pounding. Something else kept on as well… me. Don’t any of you ever forget it. Most importantly, Ellie, don’t you forget it.

I got up. I got dressed, which was no easy feat the way my body was behaving. I’m not gonna lie. It wasn’t pretty. I wasn’t pretty either. I probably didn’t brush my hair. I didn’t even brush my teeth. I demolished a pack of gum and mints between the doctor and work though. I found a dryer sheet sticking out of the sleeve of my shirt halfway through my work shift.

It’s all ok. I still didn’t look sick. So I pushed on through. Hopefully one day I’ll learn my balance better. One thing I have learned is to appreciate the good days. They are pure joy. Not free from pain, but joyful anyway. The bad days teach me fierceness you have to experience yourself to truly get.

Be here. Be you. Be strong, fierce and beautiful. Through all of it. Learn the lessons waiting for you. Experience it all. The reward is bound to be worth it.

Ellie is a cashier, freelance writer and blogger from South Carolina. Her favorite things are her family, friends, writing, cats and many other crafty pursuits. As a child, she was on a local TV kids show. She told the host that she wanted to be a butterfly or a writer when she grew up. As an adult she is very glad she’s not a butterfly.