The Best Way to Accentuate the Positive

How this columnist finds the good in life with hereditary angioedema

Danita LaShelle Jones avatar

by Danita LaShelle Jones |

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It was official: I hated my job. The good news was that I knew I was going to resign from my position. The bad news was that my last day was 188 days away, and I was on Day 1 of a new year. I knew this situation had the potential to be very difficult.

An undisclosed number of years ago, I found myself at a job where I loved what I did, but how I had to do it had become stressful and burdensome. I promised myself I’d finish with a bang, but after my first day back at work, I came home stressed, angry about useless policies, and aggravated about meetings that could have been emails.

I loathed the question, “How was your day?” It would launch me into a tirade of complaints, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and the regret that I had to return the next day — none of which would be healthy for the duration of my tenure.

“You’re not going to survive if you keep going like this,” my husband, Paul, reminded me. I was nursing my umpteenth stress headache in the darkness of our bedroom. “I’d very much like my wife healthy by the end of the year.”

He was correct. Getting up knowing I was approaching a lackluster situation made my days so much worse. The solution? I had to make a conscious decision to have a good day.

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Waking up every morning and choosing to have a good day sounds like it belongs at the top of a list of cliches. But after several weeks of trying, it worked. Every morning I would get up and decide to find something positive about my day. Did it change the circumstances? No. But it allowed me to change my outlook. There were even days when I would wake up with a sense of hope.

I forgot about engaging in this practice when our oldest daughter, whom we lovingly call Ladybug, was diagnosed with hereditary angioedema in 2021.

Every day was stressful following her diagnosis, especially after experiencing the harrowing journey that led to it. I never knew when we would have to go to the hospital or how long her flares would last, and I was constantly worried that she wouldn’t make it through the school day. How could I deal with Ladybug’s illness if every day was bleak?

Then I remembered my neat little trick — finding the positive in our situation. The challenge was seeing the positive in an unpredictable chronic illness.

It took almost a year, but I finally figured out how.

If Ladybug gets a flare and I have to administer her at-home emergency infusion, we high-five when I find the vein. If she has to go to the hospital, we celebrate if we get her favorite nurse. We cheer if she doesn’t have to stay at the hospital as long or if her preventive medication doesn’t hurt as much to administer. And if we have several weeks with minimal flares or none, we celebrate that, too! Even if they’re wrapped in not-so-great circumstances, celebrating the small wins can make us feel a little better.

This holiday season, find one thing you can be optimistic about every day. Because even if it’s more challenging right now, know that better days are on the way.

Note: Angioedema News 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 other 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 Angioedema News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to angioedema.


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