I will be honest, I am that person who rarely asks why bad things happen. Part of that is because it’s an exercise in futility. Who is going to answer you? Often, asking why is a reaction I see as wallowing, and I rarely wallow. I’m all about solutions. Instead of why, my question is usually “This happened, now how can I make the best of it?”
However, recently I sat down and wondered, why the heck did this happen to me? Lupus has no cause and no cure, so where did it come from and why did it choose me? Now again, realize I knew before I sat down to this pity party that there would be no one showing up to answer me. But sitting down with myself at a quiet moment and asking this was enlightening, to say the least.
On this particular day, I was in some serious pain. I was quite upset that for much of my life I have been the natural, healthy person and now my daily life consists of pharmaceutical-grade drugs. When my kids would get tummy aches, there was no over-the-counter medicines, I would make a healthy dose of broccoli. When they would catch colds, out came the giant blankets, hot tea with peppermint, honey, lemon juice and, yes, the old-school shot of whiskey. I was so gung-ho about exercise that fitness competitions were normal occurrences in my home. There was an enjoyable career and then, right when both my kids became adults, leaving me free to travel and do things that would no longer require making arrangements for anyone but me, I got sick.
I never asked why, because life was not going to pull up a chair and explain. This particular day though, I simply could not help myself; I was in the full throes of a “I feel sorry for myself and I just want to know why this has happened” pity party.
In those quiet moments, what I realized is that since I received this diagnosis, I have become so vocal about the symptoms of this disease that others have sent me emails saying they had no clue what was wrong with them, but because of my sharing they spoke to their doctors and now have a name for what was happening to them. Since I was diagnosed, I totally changed the way I eat, and I shared that as well. I have emails from people who said they paid attention to what I wrote and they have lost weight, and their cholesterol counts are down. The one response that made me cry, said they were able to get rid of their diabetes prescription medications by eating the way I recommended, and it changed their A1C levels. My own mother changed her eating habits, and at the time of this writing has lost almost 30 pounds.
Since my diagnosis, I have started writing for Lupus News Today and hopefully making an impact with my contribution. I also decided to take my healthcare on the road because I was seriously dissatisfied with the cost and care in the U.S. My travels have taken me to Nicaragua, Thailand and China. I share via social media in the form of a daily “show” and a few online support groups.
While life did not pull up a chair and tell me why I got this disease, I realize that having it is not about me; it’s about making a positive impact on those around me.
As strange as it may sound, this diagnosis has been a painful blessing. But when you sit down and think about it, everyone has some bad in their lives and usually those bad things turn into something good. I hate being in pain. I don’t like that every move I make I have to figure out hospitals, doctor locations, where I can get my prescriptions, and so on. But I am yelling to the rooftops the symptoms, the best healthcare solutions I’ve found and a shift in our attitudes about the things that seem to be the worst that could happen to us.
I am glad I finally took the time to ask “why?” I think the answer I received was, “Don’t be selfish. It’s not about wallowing, it’s about helping.”
Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.