It’s hard to understand that you’ve become a footnote in your own life. It snuck up on you as the person you used to be slowly drifted into nothingness, a faded memory of evaporating mist, you no longer recognize where you are because, now you are sidelined in your own life, benched, removed from the center of the action and, this is not a comfortable or welcomed perspective. You used to be the star, the prizewinner. You used to surpass the weak, the less able, but now…now you’ve become feeble. You’re fail. Despite your best efforts, you’ve lost your step. Your drive has diminished and your self confidence is shattered.

The game of life goes on without you or, is it better to say that the game of everyone else’s life goes on all around you while you’ve stalled, stammered and faltered to keep up? Your position has been usurped. Your place on the team has changed and you are no longer part of the starting lineup. You are alone much of the time, humbled by your new role as a bench warmer but, the playbook has been rewritten because your body and your mind have betrayed you. You’ve been turned into the weird introvert, more interested in the stats of the game than being a player. You are on the outside, unwanted solitude your constant companion. You’ve become that uncoordinated, awkward, self-conscious loser who’s been taken out of the game because you’ve become a liability.

When did you first notice that life ejected you from the game? How did this star player end up here, on a splintery wooden bench, with the other misfit players who just couldn’t handle the action? What happened to the hero who broke records and often had the highest score? What nightmare brought you to this place of second best? These are questions that are not easily answered because they are also difficult to accept. It’s hard to accept the loss and sorrow that comes from a body, mind and soul irrevocably changed by a dubious disease that hollowed out your lungs, physically scarring you in ways that are seen and unseen.

Sarcoidosis has stripped you of your status. It has taken your championship mentality and reduced you to the easily squashed opposition, at best a runner up but defeated with every effort. Brutal in its reality, this disease has made you insignificant and small. You’ve become a minor league player, an amateur, no longer deserving the prestige of a pro. Your glory days are far behind you. You have been sidelined into obscurity, fading, fading, fading until history has forgotten who you are and even who you once were.