By: Kelly Brynn

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, I have been thinking more about the last year and how grateful I am for everything that I have been through. For so much of my life, I felt like I missed out during the holidays and for the first time, in a long time, I’m feeling excited! This will be the first year in over ten years that my body won’t be deciding my schedule. I look forward to family gatherings without being stuck in the bathroom, good food that won’t cause pain, the freedom to make plans, and to finally be in control of my own body.

So, in the spirit of the season, I’ve decided to share five things that I am thankful for this year.

Family
I have such an amazing support system in my little family. My mom is my best friend and she has been by my side through all my health struggles. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. My husband has been my rock since our very first date and nobody encourages me quite like he does. I love these two more than anything and I appreciate them more than they’ll ever know.

Friends
I have been incredibly lucky in the friend department. My core group may be small, but the love is unreal. My friends are always here for me, no matter the circumstance, and I am so lucky to have them in my life.

Patient Coaches
Since finding the Patient Coaches program this year, I’ve stumbled into an amazing new world of ostomy awareness and support. Each day, my teammates remind me just how strong and beautiful I am, because they are too!

Pets
No day would be complete without some cuddles from my little pups, Jack and Lucy. They fill our home with joy and laughter (and maybe some extra hair) each day and they always seem to know when we need a little extra love.

My Nubbin!
Last, and definitely not least, my ostomy! Before I received my stoma (a.k.a. my nubbin) I felt like I was a prisoner to my own body. Now, I am healthy, happy, and living each day with gratitude for my new life!

“He who thanks but with the lips Thanks but in part; The full, the true Thanksgiving Comes from the heart.”– J.A. Shedd

What are you thankful for heading into this holiday season?