Yes I can…Oh yes, yes, yes I can!
These are words that I tell myself daily. This is my private little mantra. I say it when I wake up. I say it when I get out of bed. I say it before I shower and get ready for the day. I say it before I exercise. I say it before I do chores. I say it when it’s time to walk the dogs. I say it when I have to go to functions or parties. I say it before I travel. I say it when I go to the doctor. I say it when I have to take medication I’d rather not take but need. I say it when I go to bed and try to sleep.
Sarcoidosis makes it hard for me to breath, it makes my bones ache, my joints stiff, my nerves burn. It makes my chest hurt and it turns my skin funny colors. Sarcoidosis makes me tired all the time because my immune system sucks all my energy fighting phantom foes.
Life is an effort but it’s an effort that I am not ready to give up on and, I know that each day requires me to make a choice. I can give up or I can tell myself that I can do it. One day at a time is all I have to get though and when that’s too hard, I only have to focus on the hour ahead of me.
I have become my own best cheerleader. I smile when I don’t want to but, this changes my attitude and eventually, I find a little joy each day. Some days, I find a lot of it. Many days, actually. I will not let this disease beat me. I will not lose because there is too much to lose. Loss is not an option.
There are times I have to tell myself that I can tolerate anything for just a day that would horrify me for a lifetime and, I break down my struggles into manageable chunks of time. I don’t have to tackle every problem this disease throws me at once. I am learning to prioritize.
Once upon a time, I could take a big bite out of life and I could multi-task my problems and setbacks didn’t phase me. Since my sarcoidosis diagnosis, I am not able to do this anymore. Now, I try to face what I can when I have the energy and I have to break down tasks into parts and pieces and accept that things may not fall into place as quickly or as easily as I’d like them to.
It has really been about learning to adjust my expectations and if truth be told, I am still very much a work in progress in this regard. I don’t ask for help well. I still want to do it all myself. Asking for help feels like giving up but asking for help can actually be a sign of strength, a concept I understand in theory but am not yet fully comfortable with.
Each day is an adventure in picking my battles. Each day is an opportunity to face life with a can do attitude. Each day is a gift beyond measure. Each day that I tell myself that I can…I know that I will!