Making the best of it

Valen and Noah celebrating their six-year anniversary in Valen’s hospital room.

Sickness never comes at the right time. When living with chronic health issues, it’s likely that we’ll miss out on important things in our lives. We need to be ok with the fact that things we’re looking forward to – like events, anniversaries and holidays – might not unfold as planned due to our health. The way I’ve learned to cope with this is by making the best of each situation.

Take my last hospital stay in September, for example. During the time I was in the hospital, friends from Germany stayed at Noah’s and my home, our local Walk for PKD took place, a friend had her bridal shower, and it was our six-year wedding anniversary. I was quite bummed to miss out on all of this.

Valen and Noah make the most of their special occasion.

I had to come to peace with myself that being in the hospital was out of my control. I didn’t do anything to cause my sepsis and I had to trust that I was where I needed to be, even though I so badly didn’t want to be there. When I started to question why all of it was happening, I thought: “How can I make the best of my current circumstances?”

That’s when I envisioned what I wanted to do for Noah for our anniversary. He was bringing dinner in, so I wanted to decorate my hospital room for a romantic dinner date for two. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own, so I reached out to my dear friend, Julia.

Valen thanking Julia for helping surprise Noah on their anniversary.

The following day, Sept. 17, Julia arrived with her arms full of anniversary goodies: balloons, Noah’s favorite cupcakes, tablecloth, candles, Mr. & Mrs. pillow and more! Seeing all of this made me cry. Julia and I had so much fun transforming my room into a positive environment for me and Noah to celebrate life and love. All of the nurses and staff loved what we were doing and many visited my room from all over the hospital to see what we had created. I treasured that time with Julia and how she went all out to help make my vision come to life.

I’ll always remember Noah’s smile walking into my room and giving him a big hug and wishing him a Happy Anniversary in the most special way I could, despite what life had forced us to deal with. Yes, we were in a hospital and I was very sick, hooked to an IV pole, and we didn’t get to fall asleep in the same bed on our anniversary, but it’s a memory I’ll always treasure. That day exemplified the importance of not letting unexpected health hurdles stop us from making the best of each day.

Valen and Noah will always remember the special way they spent their sixth anniversary.

I wish you a beautiful holiday season and New Year. No matter where we are over the holidays—at home or in the hospital—let’s find the magic and good in every day.

How have you made the best of an untimely health hiccup? What are you doing over the holidays?


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