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When I got diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, I didn’t ask “Why me?” I said “Why not me?” While I was certainly frightened about what it all meant, I wasn’t bitter or angry. Every person has a cross to bear. Why should I be immune?

I needed to accept that this is now part of me, and instead of dwelling on the “could have beens” of not getting sick, I had to learn to live with the realities of it. I still do. But I knew from the start of it, that I could not stay stuck in self pity.

But I’m human so, I still fight with this stupid disease all the time. From time to time I get the upper hand, but eventually it wins. It wears me down. I overdo it several times a week. I still struggle with balance and some part of me hopes I always do so that I never give in to the symptoms. Because, while I need to accept this is part of me, I do not have to allow it to define me.

But what I knew almost immediately upon diagnosis was that even though I have this ten ton truck on my back, there is not one person on the planet that doesn’t have burdens; there is not one person on this planet that doesn’t struggle with something, often living with the odds stacked against them in ways I have never had to face. I know, despite this disease, that I am lucky. Some might say blessed. Whatever you want to call it, I know that this burden I’ve been given was given for a reason. And perhaps the reason is only as simple as it was my turn!

Yes, I am sick. And yes, my life has changed. As a result I grieve my losses like any one would, but I have gained things that I would otherwise lack. I am wiser now; I am more at peace; I accept things easier that I cannot change; I am much less judgmental. In a strange way, the world’s colors are brighter now. I know a secret. I know the value of life in a way that is far more profound. So many of the things that used to bother me, no longer do. I have learned that I can decide where to put my energy and time.

Am I happy that I got this disease? No, not at all. Do I think it is unfair?. Sure. But then, life isn’t fair and I’m not immune to the whims of it. No one is. I think it is understanding this and learning to accept this over time that is allowing me the benefits of this burden despite the pain it also brings.

So when something unpleasant happens to me, I don’t ask, “Why me?” I say, “Why not me?” There is freedom in this type of acceptance and with this freedom comes an ability to cope.