Life without the possibility of parole. A sentence that will out live you. I cannot fathom living imprisoned for the rest of my life. Nor can I fathom society giving up on me, writing me off as a waste.
I’ve never committed a crime, never been convicted or locked up. And yet I remember when my life felt as though I had been locked up with the key to release me lost forever. It’s not uncommon to feel abandoned or lost when you receive a medical diagnosis. When you are young and you receive the news that you have a chronic illness it can be devastating. It came see as though you are placed in solitary confinement with no hope of getting out.
I was received a sentence of life without lupus. What I didn’t realize back then is that a sentence of lupus is not a sentence of hopelessness. It isn’t an end to life. It may seem that way at first when the doctor provides you with the news. And it’s okay to feel a little list at first.
But life with lupus isn’t all gloom. It’s a chance to really consider what’s most important in your life. It’s a chance to become part of an amazing community of people who are heroes. You see having a chronic illness like lupus means that doing ordinary things may take extraordinary means or creative ways of making things work. Sure you may be challenged, and sure there are times when it isn’t all roses, but you still have a life and it can still be full and good.
I try to think of my life with lupus as having a companion all the time. A companion that requires compromise, insists I consider what’s really important in my life and which dreams I can’t to chase. This companion of mine reminds me that every day people have to come up with creative ways, new ways, of doing ordinary things. And is companion offers me a roller coaster ride of emotions, but not without providing me a great community of support.
No one goes through a chronic illness completely alone and if you can remember that, if you can just reach out to those who’ve navigated the winding path of living with lupus already, it’s easier. Everything is easier when you aren’t in solitary, while you aren’t facing it alone. And you aren’t alone! I promise. Reach out.