Choosing a word to live by in the new year as a LEMS parent

How I intend to set a positive example for my daughter in 2024

Lori Dunham avatar

by Lori Dunham |

Share this article:

Share article via email
banner image for the column

At the start of each new year, I do the same dance as many of you. I examine the year we’ve just left behind and intentionally pursue change in certain areas of my life. Exercise more. Eat healthier. Learn a new hobby.

Some of these resolutions stick. Others are long forgotten by the end of January.

As flawed as New Year’s resolutions may be, I do appreciate the intention behind them. Examine life as you know it. Make positive changes to benefit you and your family.

For me, I know my attitude permeates my home, setting a culture for all who live in it. As a mom of a now adult child with a rare disease, I think it’s particularly important to look to the new year with anticipation, expectation, and hope.

Furthermore, I want this attitude to be contagious, especially for my 18-year-old daughter, Grace, who has Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS). She carries a heavier burden than most. I don’t want her to be sucked under by the weight of it all.

Recommended Reading
banner image for the column

Seeing my daughter laugh again gives me hope for the future

Leading by example

Several years ago, I noticed a social media trend that intrigued me. Many people pick a word to represent their intentions or purpose for the new year. It’s not so much a resolution but rather something to live by.

Last year, I decided to take the plunge and chose the word “pursue” for 2023. I was intentional about pursuing friendships, opportunities, and my children’s hearts. I simply wrote this word on a whiteboard on the side of my refrigerator, where it served as a daily reminder.

Surprisingly, the word continued to pop up throughout the year. I pursued friendships and am richer today for it. My children and I now share a deeper connection because I looked for meaningful ways to connect with each of them. I sought out and accepted opportunities as they presented themselves.

Now, I find myself again searching for a word to represent the new year. After much thought, I chose “gratitude.” I want to intentionally look for things to be thankful for each day. Negativity has the potential to press hard on our shoulders. In 2024, I plan to push back against it by looking for the nuggets of gold in my day.

According to UCLA Health, practicing gratitude has the potential to improve mental health. Some of the benefits include improved sleep, less anxiety, and reduced depression. In addition, gratitude also alleviates stress. These are all areas that need to be managed closely, especially for those living with LEMS.

Gratitude is not ignorance of all that is wrong or needs to be improved. It’s simply a way to train my brain to see the positives in my day, first and foremost. As I work on making improvements in my life, I will be sure to acknowledge and appreciate all the good before us.

Some of my first entries for the new year are big ones. I’m grateful for:

  • Various treatment options for those with LEMS
  • Rituxan (rituximab) giving my daughter her energy and strength back
  • Other medications that have benefited Grace
  • How the LEMS community supports one another and shares essential knowledge
  • The potential of other drugs coming on the market in the future.

May 2024 be the year we accentuate all the good within this community.

Note: Lambert-Eaton 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 Lambert-Eaton News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Lambert-Eaton myasthenia syndrome.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.