It never did occur to me that one day I would wake up and not get better. Heck, it never occurred to me that I would ever wake up sick, chronically, I mean. That kind of thing happens to other people. It doesn’t happen to me. Why I thought this, I’ll never fully understand. I mean, it did happen to my mother. She had lupus. So, why couldn’t it happen to me? I think the answer comes to down to one word. Denial.
No one ever wants to believe they will live a life of illness. I was strong and powerful, both in body and spirit before my sarcoidosis. I never thought anything could bring me down let alone keep me there. Nor did it occur to me that I would end up with a rare chronic condition that so little is known about. I certainly never thought I’d wake up with breathing problems or be someone who needs inhalers and nebulizer treatments. I mean, what is that all about? A rhetorical question…of course.
I think if there is one thing having sarcoidosis has taught me, and there is far more than just one thing, it’s that we never know what will happen. Even the best planning cannot stop certain unexplainable, unpredictable events from befalling us and reeking havoc on our lives. We simply cannot know what we cannot know. We can however, control one thing and that is how we choose to respond to these maddening unwelcome events. We can cave in like a house of cards or we can fortify our hearts and minds in defense of life’s not so pleasant experiences.
When I first began to become ill, I didn’t believe it. I ignored all the subtle warning signs, chalked them up to other things. After all, my symptoms did not rage at first. My symptoms smoldered. I actually didn’t just wake up sick one day and never get better. I woke up off day after day after day until it become normal for me to feel that way. We cannot know what we cannot know. I didn’t know just how sick I was but when I found out, a lot of things started to make sense. You’re not supposed to be that exhausted. You’re not supposed to get short of breath in the middle of a sentence. You’re not supposed to forget what you are doing mid way through an activity or a thought.
This is my life now. I never thought I’d wake up sick one day and never get better but that’s what has happened. Now, my only goal is not to get worse. I’m doing everything within my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. I eat right. I exercise. I have eliminated a lot of stress. I take my medications. I go to the doctor. I listen to the weird things my body tries to tell me now. I look for happiness wherever I can find it. I appreciate the small every day moments of life. If this disease one day decides to do more damage to me that it already has, then at least I will know that I spend my time and energy wisely and in earnest, doing my best to take care of myself and not take for granted the people I love. We cannot know what we cannot know and I cannot know what will happen with my sarcoidosis but I do know that for now my focus is on living and living well!