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Recently, the vacuum cleaner and I had a battle, not with dirt, but with each other. I was vacuuming the staircase and the attachment kept falling off. I found this to be very annoying. I may have even hollered at the vacuum a time or two or three.

I was already feeling weak when I started vacuuming because I had played a little tennis with my husband earlier in the day. My sarcoidosis makes me very weak very quickly when I am active. So, maybe vacuuming at that particular moment wasn’t my best plan anyway.

Yet there I was, in the middle of the staircase, trying to juggle the vacuum upright, the hose and attachment that kept falling off the hose with weak and wobbly legs. I ignored my legs and pressed on. There was more yelling each time the attachment came off the hose. I’m quite certain that I even called the vacuum a few choice names. In retaliation, the attachment came off again and the hose smacked me right in the face, giving me a fat lip.

This was a warning to walk away. This was a clear warning to walk away. It is not natural to be yelling at your vacuum cleaner, in the middle of your staircase. I should have realized that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to complete the job, but ever since my sarcoidosis diagnosis, I push even harder than I did before. I get angry when I feel like I am too weak to do such a simple job and that, looking back was the real reason for the yelling.

So, I didn’t walk away. I didn’t step back. I didn’t leave and come back when I felt better physically and emotionally to complete the job. I powered on and the attachment kept coming off and I kept yelling. Until, the attachment came off and the hose flew in my face a second time, this time chipping a tooth. Then I not only walked away, I stormed away and had a melt down.

I cried and cried and cried for a good ten minutes…it seemed. My mouth is not in pain and I have an appointment to get the tooth fixed already scheduled. I was annoyed that I chipped my tooth, as anyone would be, but that wasn’t why I was crying.

Having this disease makes me a fighter. I am strong most of the time. I get up every day and put on a brave face and show the world the best me, I can muster. I do this for myself as much as anyone. I do this because I need normalcy too. I do this because I’m not going to give into weakness and pain and fear.

But every once and awhile, when I can’t do something the way I want to, it gets the better of me. I am not good at walking away when I should. Walking away and letting something go and starting over when I am refreshed rarely occurs to me anymore because I am in a constant state of “fight mode”, thanks to this disease.

Even though the design of the vacuum stinks, because attachments should not fall off so easily, the primary reason I could not complete vacuuming the stairs without injury had far more to do with me and my disease than the vacuum cleaner. I was feeling very weak physically but I was ignoring it. Well, maybe I wasn’t ignoring it because I was clearly angry over it but I didn’t listen to the needs of my body and either stop and finish it later or ask for help.

It makes me angry that my disease makes me weak enough that I can’t even carry a vacuum up the stairs to get my house clean. But it doesn’t matter how angry I get, I will always get myself into a pickle when i refuse to listen to what my body is telling me it needs.

The simple fact is that I need to learn to walk away sometimes. I need to learn to let things go. I need to learn to accept my limits. I am aware that I have them yet I am always pushing. And sometimes, pushing is okay but other times, all the warning signs are there and I ignore them. I ignore them and I hurt myself.

I hate this disease. I hate what it is doing to me and I have to accept that that’s okay too. I don’t have to like something to accept it. So today, I admit that I hate this disease and today I admit that I am angry about it, what it has done to me. Maybe finally admitting that I’m not as tough as I pretend to be, will help me as I learn the hard lesson of knowing when to walk away.

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