Today was a pretty amazing day for me! I traveled into Toronto to see my eye surgeon after another 6 week healing period, and the little stitch that was holding my implant in place was FINALLY removed – YAY!! Not only does my eye look great (according to my doc), but aside from some pain from the actual stitch removal, the incessant irritation I’ve been feeling from that little bugger is GONE – hallelujah!! It feels so, so good to be ‘back to normal’ and to have all the fears I’ve had about my peepers over the past 3 months dissipate. All that’s left now is a final appointment in April, and I’m in the clear! I feel so incredibly fortunate to have been a part of the study that allowed me to have this very expensive surgery for free, and will continue giving gratitude for this roller coaster experience for a long (long) time to come.

About a month ago my sister forwarded me an article about a young boy who was diagnosed with the same disease as me (keratoconus for anyone who’s just catching up on my blog now), but sadly he was struggling in a very different way than I had. His case was more serious than mine, and his eyes were deteriorating rapidly. Unfortunately, his parents could not cover the $10,000 surgical fee, and they had gone to the press to spread the word about how procedures like cross-linking are not covered by OHIP yet. Reading this article was eye-opening for me, because before doing so I really didn’t understand just how hard it is to be accepted into a study can be, and here was someone half my age who was going blind and couldn’t get help. This realization jolted me back to reality, after I’d spent more time than I care to admit feeling a bit sorry for myself and some of the complications I’d be struggling through post-op. His ordeal did not make the discomfort or fear I’d been living with any less valid, but it nudged me back into the right frame of mind aka feeling incredibly grateful that I was selected for this amazing study, and that I live in a country where people will fight for our rights to receive free medical care.

While I couldn’t do anything to personally help this boy (I can only hope that the Globe & Mail exposure got him his surgery!), it reminded me that there are plenty of people out there that I COULD help! And so with the assistance of my friends at Soul Sessions, I was able to run a warm clothing drive for a local and very deserving women and children’s shelter in my neighbourhood throughout the month of December! Today was not only stitch removal day, but it also happened to be the day that this charity came to pick up all the donations we were able to collect through the studio’s amazing members! Hundreds of pieces of warm clothing, including bags of gloves, scarves and hats with tags still on them! This kind of generosity never ceases to amaze me, and my heart has been soaring all day knowing that so many people came out to support such a wonderful cause <3

To come around full circle here, I really just wanted to write this post because I feel like we all have the capacity to make a difference in someone else’s life every day, through even the smallest gestures. Whether it’s giving the homeless person you meet on the street a few dollars, donating $5 to a gofundme campaign you believe in, helping your friend move into her new place, volunteering at an old age home, paying for the person behind you at the drive-thru, heck just smiling at someone can seriously make a world of difference to their day! To always remind myself that I’ve had a great day in spite of any hardships, I’ve picked back up a practice I started last year, and each night I take the calendar page from that day’s You are a Badass calendar and write down all the things I am grateful for. It’s pretty easy to give gratitude for all the good things we’ve experienced, but giving gratitude for things that have been challenging isn’t always as easy. Having said that, it is an incredible way to remind ourselves that there is good fortune hiding in every hardship we face, but that sometimes it just takes a little extra digging to see it 🙂 I’m so excited to continue doing what I can, where I can throughout the coming year, and can’t wait to hear what you’ve all been doing to make a difference in your own worlds too! Here’s to making 2017 our most charitable and gratitude-filled year yet! XO