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You know those commercials that promote car safety with the crash test dummies? They put a dummy in the car and then drive it into a concrete wall at an obscene rate of speed. The dummy’s face and torso hit the air bag like a ton of bricks, its head bobbing forward and then back, and somehow by seeing this, we are supposed to be feel more secure that we’d be safe in a terrible accident. Whenever I see those commercials, the only word that comes to mind is, “ouch”.

Well, I saw one those commercials the other day and I realized that it is a metaphor for life with sarcoidosis. We are those crash test dummies. Once this disease takes hold of us, we are out of control and find ourselves careening into a wall, with only toxic drugs for an air bag. It’s just not that reassuring and because these drugs don’t usually work long term and our symptoms are so bizarre, we are tested over and over. Ouch!

When you live with sarcoidoisis, you hit all kinds of walls at all kinds of speeds. There’s the wall that we are absolutely crushed by when we learn that there is no known cause or cure for this disease and consequently, the medical community is generally at a loss for how best to ensure our “safety”. When we hit this wall, we often go flying through the windshield with despair, feeling the utter terror of an uncertain outcome.

Then, there are all the daily walls we hit. The fatigue wall, the pain wall, the brain fog wall…each of them causing their own special kind of whip lash. Sometimes they start out as pot holes, we think we can drive around them but then we hit an unexpected oil slick and find the car has spun out of control.  Before we have a chance to right our direction, we find ourselves plowing into an all too familiar barrier and we feel beat up and broken. This is the road we travel now, full of dangerous challenges, we cannot seem to out maneuver.

We are crash test dummies. We are part of a great experiment. Our safety is not guaranteed and we can’t be sure what will become of us when we hit the next roadblock. The only thing we can be sure of is that there will be more obstacles in the way and we will be tested. Sometimes we will come through the crash unharmed and others we will be battered and bruised. All we can do is wear our seat belt and hold on for dear life.

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