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I’ve learned a lot about myself since my diagnosis of sarcoidosis but I think I have learned just as much or more about other people – for better and for worse.

When your life bumps along relatively well and you don’t “need” people, they are at their best. But when things begin to unravel and life becomes difficult, you often find yourself alone or nearly so.

There are a few who have stood by me, no matter what, even when they don’t entirely understand my experience but there are more who have stepped away. More who don’t ask, who don’t want to know.

This disease has not been life defining but it has been significantly life altering. I need people around me who understand this and accept the changes I cannot control.

I do not use my disease as an excuse but sometimes it is an explanation. I am changed. I would love to be more active. I would to travel more. I would love to know that my body will not betray me. But the reality is, I don’t.

I’ve learned a lot about other people in the process of becoming chronically ill. I have learned that issues other people have are their problem, not mine. I cannot focus on being resentful or hurt or angry when others cannot or will not give me what I need.

Now I understand that more of it has to do with them than me. Some are too afraid. Others weren’t who I thought they were in the first place. Most don’t know what to say, so they back off.

Instead, I choose to focus in gratitude on the people who have shown that they can put up with the pot holes. The ones who walk this rocky road with me. The number is small. I have less people in my life now, for this is there is no doubt.

But, I’d rather have people of strong character, of loving character, of kind character walking this road with me than a bunch of phonies any day.