Storms make trees grow deeper roots.
I’ll never forget the day I heard the doctor say, “Your results are back and you have SLE Lupus.” I’d heard him, but surely what I heard was wrong. I said, “I have what?” The doctor repeated his words. You see I had already completed lab work that he ordered weeks prior and I was at my appointment to get the results.
In that moment, I was nervous and anxious because I really didn’t know what to expect. I had so many questions. How would this disease impact my life? What would that mean for my day-to-day routine? I was 39 years old and other than a previous surgery, my health had always been pretty good. The doctor reassured me that it was not a death sentence and that it was a manageable disease. He gave me some informational pamphlets, asked if I had questions, wrote a prescription and sent me on my way.
As I walked to my car, I couldn’t help but to feel like I’d just been given a death sentence. While I didn’t know everything about Lupus, I had heard of people dying from complications. I couldn’t help but wonder what path Lupus would take me on.
It seemed like as soon the diagnosis was confirmed, every possible symptom became my reality. Migraines, rashes, fatigue, painful joints, digestive issues, and hair loss to name a few. Because I didn’t have anyone who I could relate to, I began to feel depressed. I had goals that I wanted to accomplish. I was in the process of changing careers to something very rewarding in the Criminal Justice field.
Lupus put an end to that.
Here I was on a new path in life. Certainly not the one I wanted for myself. So what was I going to do? Give in to the pity party swirling around on the inside of my head? I wanted to. But I couldn’t.
I allowed myself time to process this new normal. I cried. I cursed. I questioned God even. But at the end of the day…I realized this:
I found out how strong I was.
I realized that there were others like myself.
I realized that I could use my voice in a positive light.
I chose to go to battle with Lupus.
I remembered that I had two little ones who were depending on me.
I found strength in my struggle.
Whether you are a fellow Lupus warrior or fighting a battle of a different kind, please don’t forget that you are victorious! Your illness does not define you. If you are reading this, you are still here and the world needs more of you. Even if you feel like you don’t have much to offer, that’s simply untrue. The world needs your smile, your words of encouragement, and your determination to keep going! You never know whose life you may impact with your courage.
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving.” – MLK