If you’ve been a subscriber to my blog for any length of time, you know that my niece, Eliza, has cystic fibrosis. She was diagnosed at the age of four months and will be 13 this summer – with the help of many amazing doctors, she is thriving as well as she can in the face of the enormous challenges people with chronic illnesses face every day. This is a photo she took a month ago and she posted it to her Instagram feed – it shows her current nightly medicine regimen, which only accounts for a third of the pills she takes on a daily basis. It also doesn’t take into account her nebulized antibiotics and breathing treatments and the copious amounts of digestive enzymes she has to take as part of her normal routing – this young lady takes more pills in a month than most of us in good health could ever conceive of needing in our lifetimes, and she does so without complaint, knowing that each pill is essential for her survival. Living in the day and age we do, it’s so easy to victimize ourselves and place blame on others when something goes wrong in our lives, and it’s for this reason I’m sharing this photo with you. I know I’ve found myself whining at times when I think I’ve gotten a raw deal and it’s in the times I need an attitude check, I think of my niece. We never knew cystic fibrosis existed in our family until Eliza was diagnosed. Her brother, Andrew, was the lucky one – he only carries the disease but she drew the genetic short straw and has a strain that she shares with only six other people in the world. Her health has always been fragile but she doesn’t let it define her. Eliza is an incredible student and dancer, a devout Christian and an all-around typical teenager (whatever that means). I Just remember, no matter how bad you think you think you have it, chances are, someone you are close to could be smiling through the pain/fear/illness/etc. When looked at in a broad perspective, we generally have it better than we think we do, and our trials are small and not worth the negative energy we devote to them, especially when compared to what people like Eliza go through. In a world that is making increasingly less sense by the day, this should be our reality check.