How to Turn Disappointment into Opportunity

Written by: Kristin Jekielek

I’ve talked about my health issues openly. I want to share my recovery story in more detail. I want to share it with those who have been or who currently are lost in a maze of mysterious symptoms, ineffective treatments, and guesswork.

I’ve talked with quite a few people who have gone through major health challenges and recoveries (mostly women, interestingly enough). I’ve noticed a few trends.

These are all simply my observations, so don’t take any of this as medical advice.

I want to make this a sporadic series. What I hope you get out of these posts is a sense of hope and a few ideas of new avenues to explore in your own healing journey.

As I write this, I’m missing out on a camping trip with some of my best friends.

Today my health just isn’t where it needs to be in order to go walking in the woods and camping.

For two years now I’ve decided to put my immediate health needs above my desire to have fun. At times it’s extremely difficult to stick to, but when I don’t, the health consequences are compounded.

I’m extremely disappointed to be missing this trip.


And the whining begins…

I wish I had a magic pill to take that would instantly restore my energy when it’s low. I wish I didn’t need to give myself hours of rest to start feeling better. I wish I could give in to the sugar cravings that hit me at times like these.

It isn’t fair.

But it’s not what you think…

Accepting “this isn’t fair” has been crucial to my recovery. Instead of wasting precious energy fighting that fact and lamenting over it, acceptance has allowed me to move beyond it.

I now focus my energies on how to make the most of a disappointing situation.

How to Turn Disappointment into Opportunity…

Well how does one do that? It’s simple: you find joy in the things that you now have an opportunity to do.

One key aspect of this is to not think about what you can’t do. You don’t have control over that, so why waste your time dwelling on what you can’t change?

Here’s an example: today I found joy in nourishing myself physically and mentally.

I drank some homemade bone broth, napped, made some vitamin D out in the sun, cooked clean and nutritious food for every meal, and caught up on interesting articles that I’ve been too busy to read the past couple weeks.

After all that, I felt quite a bit better in general and decided to get a head start on my workload for the week ahead…and I even enjoyed doing it.  That never happens.

Feeling Gratitude is Key…

Right now I’m feeling grateful for having the time to heal, and for being in a place where I can feel so good that I enjoy working on the weekend (to get ahead for next week).

I know that this choice will make tomorrow better, and the days after that.

The Flip Side…

What would have happened if I had said “Screw it! I’m going because I want to have fun, and I don’t care about the consequences!”

Well, I’ve done that before. I can tell you exactly how that goes:

  • I muster all of my energy and feel great for an hour or two.
  • I have a blast with my friends…for a while.
  • Then I start to crash. My energy & focus decline. It’s harder to keep up with everything that’s going on.
  • People start to notice that I’m not following along and that something isn’t right.
  • I suck it up and say “Everything’s fine.”
  • Everything is not fine.
  • Things continue to decay pretty rapidly until I need to lie down because the physical effort required to sit up is too much for me.
  • People get concerned, perhaps a scene is made.
  • I’m left feeling completely wiped out, exhausted, embarrassed, and dumb (because I thought something different would happen this time, and it didn’t).

I had to learn this lesson the hard way, but here it is: it isn’t worth it.

Like I talked about before, when your health issues interfere with your daily life, restoring your health must become your #1 priority – no exceptions.

That’s the fastest path to health and happiness that I’ve found.

How do you cope when your health interferes with how you want to live your life? What works for you? What doesn’t? Share your story in the comments so we can learn from you.


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Beverly Randolph


Thank you so much for sharing these important thoughts. Gratitude for what I HAVE and AM rather than what I feel I might be missing is the path I am now following for every aspect of my life. For instance, right now I don't have a regular job. While I am job-hunting, I'm concentrating on gratitude for the time I have available to do things I might have to cram into late-night moments otherwise. One example: I have time to make another Quilt of Valor for a military hero. Yea!



Kristin, thank you for focusing on what's really important in dealing with chronic illness and low stamina. Overly optimistic attitudes and relying on the latest "research" only give people excuses to keep pushing themselves. The honesty and self-control it takes to do what you do are like compound interest: the returns seem small at first, but are worth so much more in the long view.



Thank you for the wonderful comments, Beverly and Darin!

Beverly - Your dedication to supporting others, even while you're in need, is inspiring.

Darin - You hit the nail on the head. These small habits that you build provide huge returns in the long run.

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