Really, it’s all about CHOICE.
“A funny thing happened on the way to the doctor’s office…”
But, there’s no punchline.
There is a “thing” that happens when one is diagnosed with a chronic illness or disease: one changes. Is this a good “thing”? Is this a bad “thing”? In the fall of 2010 I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus. An autoimmune disease with no known cure. It was like getting sucker punched.
In the face. With a train.
Sweet mother of buggernackles, friends.
I am a mother of five, how on earth does one overcome the initial range of emotions: fear, sorrow, anger, resentment, panic?
There are two things you can do: let it change you for the worse, or let it change you for the better. The game of managing chronic disease within the context of one’s reality, no matter how chaotic, is just that – a game. If you don’t like the hand you’ve been dealt, change the game.
It’s your choice.
I found a plethora of online groups, forums, pages and influencers. Social media is an amazing tool used to connect the common patient under an umbrella of hope, knowledge and resources.
Lupus Interrupted was a product of needing to write my journey so that my friends and family could follow along with the chaos of my made-for-tv-movie kind’o’life. It’s creation was how I could illustrate the need to modify and adapt to my condition as a mother and as a childcare provider. My concern became a reality when I would see websites dedicated to misinformation, cures and snake oils. Hope is a fragile branch to those who seek to lessen the pain that invades one’s everyday living, and there is an inherent danger of promising concepts or pills to those already suffering. I had to make an effort to educate, inform and provide reliable resources and information for the betterment of “choice.”
My story is as real as it is raw.
I write with colourfully flowered metaphors, similes and language because the reality of living with an autoimmune disease is neither “all of the rainbows, all of the time,” nor is it “the Eeyore Syndrome”…full of woe and constant negativity. Using wit and humour in my description of my journey is a choice. A beautiful, articulated, choice. I believe this ability is what draws most of my followers and readers because they can find the words for the reality of their health journey and know, without question, that they are, most assuredly, not alone.
Choice in the condition of disease is also one of being pro-active. I verily believe that if I’m entitled to the inevitable “Whine-1-1” because I’ve had to crawl up the stairs or I’ve had one of those soul-breaking ugly cries on the kitchen floor…I must also provide the highlights of what I’m doing as a patient in order to better my condition. It’s never easy, choice. It makes us feel uncomfortable things at inopportune times. I choose to look at choice as an opportunity to grow and self-evolve. It makes me not just a better patient, but a better person as a whole.
Let's not forget: Knowledge is Power
Part of my choices included obtaining my certification as a Chartered Herbalist. In the throes of all that is pharmaceutical and environmental, I felt the need to augment my knowledge of physiology and the use of alternative therapies. I make salves and bug spray, household cleaners and remedies. Knowledge is power, after all, and, if I can’t be Darth and choke-hold the lupus out of my system, it’s the next best pro-active tool in my choice toolbox.
Then, you might wonder, “Is this, making choices, not merely a change in your perspective?”
No. Absolutely not.
Perspective requires you to make a choice as to whether your processing of a circumstance, situation or event is going to be for a positive or for a negative. Never confuse the two.
Perspective is the result of which colour of glasses you have chosen to see through, or which pill you chose to take when sitting in front of Morpheus in the matrix of your own reality.
Choice is about empowerment.
In a world that pushes upon you pretty pre-wrapped products and the latest-n-greatest in chemical consumerism, we’ve lost the innate ability to choose, without pressure or shame, the new normal of nontoxic living. I chose to change. I hope you will choose to find the journey just as empowering.
We are blessed to have Brynn's as part of Savvy's Founding Writing Team (and our first from Canada!) Whatever challenges you face, we are a big believer in not doing this alone. You are welcome here at Savvy and hope that you consider joining our nonprofit women's alliance. Please, come take a peek....