Enjoying Life During Hardships

Last week my husband and I celebrated our 40th anniversary! I am so grateful to celebrate this amazing day with this wonderful man! Four years ago, I was told I had a few months to a year to live and was offered no treatment options.

Being given such a horrible time frame to live was devastating. I really didn’t think I’d make it to this momentous anniversary. Praise God I’m still here and kicking! I’ve learned several things from this experience. I know you may not be facing a terminal illness, but I think the things I learned may be of help to celebrate and enjoy the good things life has to offer, even when going through hardships!

Gratitude for every breathe and moment

It’s so normal when going through hardships to get lost in them. Sometimes they are all we can think about. This is part of the healing process. It’s also helpful to pause and be grateful for all the good that is still around for us to enjoy. I wake up every morning and thank God for each breath and another day. I try to notice and be grateful for the many positives in my life. These small moments of gratitude give me a more balanced perspective of what I’m going through. I often tell myself, “Yes this is really hard and scary, AND there is so much to enjoy too.”

Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best

Hearing such a short time frame to live caused me to take steps to take care of a lot of business and end of life decisions so as not to leave a mess when I passed. I’m so glad I took care of these important decisions. I’m doing all I can to be as healthy as possible, and placing my hope in God.

If you don’t like your doctor get a new one

I was devastated by what my doctor told me. Upon the advice of a friend I paid for a second opinion outside of my insurance company.  She told me about a doctor who had done wonders for a friend of hers with a different lung disease. What did I have to lose?

My new pulmonologist agreed that I had a terminal illness but said the reason I was declining so rapidly was that I was on the wrong medication. He had me switch to a new medication that kept me stable for 12 months. My first doctor tried to see if my current insurance company would pay for an outside specialist, but they wouldn’t approve it. The first doctors were just waiting for me to die. Needless to say, I dropped them a few months later and now have a different insurance company and different doctors.

Do all you can to enjoy your life NOWhttp://kimfredrickson.com/2018/07/19/enjoying-life-during-hardships/ ‎

It is normal to be besieged by grief, confusion and painful emotions when going through hardships. I feel these emotions off and on now, but they were especially strong the first year. As they lessen and I accept and deal with reality, I focus on enjoying the good things life has for me. Soaking in good things replenishes us, and helps us be resilient for the road ahead. In a recent column I wrote for Pulmonary Fibrosis News I wrote about the things I’m being intentional about enjoying this summer.


I like to celebrate lots of things. Reaching the next birthday, anniversary, holiday and family event is worth celebrating. Each one is a gift to be relished and enjoyed. If I didn’t have pulmonary fibrosis and have such a hard time traveling and getting around we would have had a big party to celebrate our anniversary.

http://kimfredrickson.com/2018/07/19/enjoying-life-during-hardships/ ‎
Boysenberry Pie!!!

Instead, we planned several small things over a week to celebrate this milestone. We went out to lunch twice at favorite spots, went to a movie, had a nice dinner and took a nice drive and got boysenberry pie! It felt good to still celebrate, although in different ways than I would have before getting this disease.

I’d love to hear from you!

How are you being intentional about enjoying the good things life has to offer? What milestones have you been able to celebrate, and how? Which ones are you looking forward to?

Please leave a comment below and share with those who could benefit via e-mail or on social media.

17 thoughts on “Enjoying Life During Hardships

  1. Happy Belated 40th Anniversary! You both look radiant in the photos, and you have every right and reason to be!
    What a great way to extend the celebration throughout the week with such special outings. I can relate to not having a big shindig for that special day. Sometimes the simpler things with just the one we love is the best and most meaningful way to celebrate.
    My prayers continue, and I send my love and two hugs!
    Hmmmm….. for some reason I am hungry for boysenberry pie!

  2. Kim,
    congratulations to you and your husband as you celebrate 40 years together! I love reading your blogs and hearing how God continues to give you grace on this journey. I am enjoying summer mornings, but am thankful for my air conditioning when the 100’s hit. Blessings to you!

  3. Thank you for your wise words. What an encouragement for everyone. I posted this on my Facebook wall. God Bless you both.

  4. Thank you Kim for those encouraging words. I remember 10 years ago ( hard to believe it was that long ago) when stage 4 ovarian cancer and C-Diff were leaving me on death’s door. The doctors were kind but I saw hopelessness in their faces. I wasn’t afraid to die but I was willing to fight. It was December and I was already in the hospital for over a month. There was a miraculous change in my condition and I was told I would be going to a convalescent home. My family was coming from all over for Christmas. I wanted to be with them at home. My only chance was to be able to walk with a walker down the hall. I hadn’t been out of bed all that time and was weak. It took three more days but I was determined to make that trek. What helped me? The love I have for my family and the thankfulness to my Savior for being with me through it all. Miracles still happen.

    1. Dear Kathy, Thanks so much for sharing your amazing story of God’s grace and healing on your behalf. What an incredible story! I love your fighting spirit and reliance on God. Yes, miracles still do happen! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Kim, God has surely brought forth some great treasures from the darkness you experienced with your first diagnosis!
    You radiate JOY through your posts, and I know for sure that God takes great delight in YOU.
    God bless you in all that is yet to come, knowing that all the while He is perfecting you for Himself, eventually.
    Thrilled you’ve been given longer to live and praying the lung transplant, when it happens, will keep you writing posts that bless and encourage many, for many years to come.
    Love you.
    Mary. xx

    1. Dear Mary, Thanks for all your encouragement and prayers. I so appreciate your wonderful perspective and kind words. I also love how you said, “praying the lung transplant, when it happens….” Love the way you think! Love to you too!

  6. Kim, so blessed and inspired by your post! Happy anniversary!!!!! Your choice to look at what to be grateful for is a reminder of how our choices impact not only ourselves but have the ability to encourage others. You certainly have encouraged me!

  7. Hi Kim,
    Happy Anniversary! Thanks so much for sharing happiness and joy even in hard times. So glad that you have been given life beyond expectations. Your positive attitude and gratefulness helps me to look for the positives in my circumstances and to keep looking to God for His strength.

    1. HI Emily, Thanks so much for your lovely Anniversary wishes and encouragement. I’m so glad my words are helping you look for the positives in your circumstances. Yahoo! 🙂

  8. Hello Kim: Congratulations on your 40th Anniversary. Thanks for the pics of you & your husband. I have learned so much from your words about being kind to yourself in your illness. I have gone from waiting to die to going forward. When it was time to go forth & disciple others, I was sure there was nothing I could do because I have a lung disease that was keeping me at home more & more. However, influenced by your illness & your continued work, I realized how useful emailing is in our lives. With inspirational from the Holy Spirit, I have created a weekly devotional as a way to teach the next group. BLESSINGS to your husband. I know he is a big help to you. I thank our God for you. 🤗 Fritzi

    1. Hi Fritz, Thanks so much for your lovely comments. I’m so happy to hear my columns have been helpful. Yahoo! I’m so excited to hear you following God’s leading to create a weekly devotional to encourage others. I know you are helping so many others in such a meaningful way! Thanks so much for taking the time to encourage me and tell me about your ministry. Fabulous!

  9. Thanks for sharing this Kim. It is what I needed to hear. My 27 year old son was diagnosed with bone cancer (Ewing’s Sarcoma) 3 years ago. It is now in the advanced stage. These last few weeks he has had some complications from a recent surgery, including seromas and unmanaged pain. It’s been painstakingly slow dealing with the doctor’s office trying to get things taken care of. This morning I took a break for myself by going to the lake to breathe deeply and listen to God. I’ve been trying to manage the overwhelming daily feelings of grief, frustration, confusion and pain you mentioned. I find that gratefulness helps. And I am finding that surrendering these burdens to God is key to living well through this. Right now I am looking forward to my son’s birthday in November. It may very well be the last one I get to celebrate with him. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful. And thank you for reminding me that we can celebrate in whatever way and timing make sense for us. Happy anniversary. 🙂

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