The Philippines was in an extra festive mood over the Christmas season. Alongside the holiday parties, we were celebrating our country’s Miss Universe contender, Catriona Gray, who took home the crown.
As a country, we tend to place high importance on events like this. To us, the Miss Universe pageant is an opportunity for our nation to be visible on a global scale.
Gray’s winning answer stole the spotlight; in just a few sentences she managed to demonstrate social awareness with an inspirational touch. To see something positive in the desolate, to always look for a silver lining, and to practice gratitude at all times — these were the main themes of the answer she delivered upon being asked about the most important lesson she’d learned in her lifetime and how she would apply it to her time as Miss Universe.
I believe her message speaks to all of us. I can also see how it would be relevant to a person with a disability. When you’ve spent many years of your life with a chronic illness, with no sign of a lasting cure on the horizon, it’s so easy to give up or lose hope. Being able to see a silver lining in most situations allows a person to keep moving forward by reframing their perspective and enabling them to focus on the good things, no matter how few.
Then again, while it’s great to think positively and look at the bright side of life, I believe we should keep in mind that there are times when a silver lining appears to be unattainable. The harsh reality of life here in the Philippines is that a vast majority of us are poor — and for as long as there is poverty, there will be hunger, drug abuse, disease, and disorder. The reality for a Filipino person with hemophilia, like my husband, is that they have a disorder which has no cure. Transfusions allow them to enjoy a certain degree of normalcy in their lives, but these treatments are merely a Band-Aid solution to a pervasive problem.
Being poor or chronically ill may be considered “terrible” when compared with being wealthy or in perfect health. But, as my husband with hemophilia pointed out, seeing only the good things while denying that the not-so-good parts of the picture exist, can make things even more terrible because then you are only deceiving yourself.
I cannot deny that my husband has hemophilia and epilepsy. Even though he is relatively healthy — and that is truly something to be grateful for — I still cannot treat him like a person who does not have these conditions. I am proud of him for being able to handle heavy weights at the gym, but I must remind him not to take supplements that might thin his blood or cause seizures. I know he can manage well on his own, but I still need to keep him company no matter where we go. I am not belittling him by acknowledging that he has conditions which require a certain degree of special care.
Life is made up of “good” and “bad” things, and they balance each other out. Being aware of the bad can help you to figure out a course of action to live a better life with your limitations. Recognizing the good things, on the other hand, inspires you to keep moving forward.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.