I made it! On Jan. 1, 2016, I took myself down to the beach. Sitting in Daytona on the white sand on a cool day, wrapped in two blankets because the breezes made me feel as if I was in a winter storm (thanks to Raynaud’s Syndrome), I had a talk with my maker. I looked back at my humble beginnings and could be only proud of where I was, even though I was there to say goodbye to life.
I grew up poor in inner-city Chicago, and I never thought there was much for me outside that. As I sat on the beach, not knowing what was going on with my health (my lupus diagnosis didn’t come until February), I walked down memory lane.
When my children were small, I decided I was no longer happy in my marriage, filed for divorce and started living life on my terms. I’ve run my own real estate business, raised two wonderful kids, traveled to other countries, and I had a shoe collection that Imelda Marcos would have envied.
As I sat on that beach reconciling my life, I realized I had not one regret and that I was completely happy with where my life had taken me. I had law-abiding kids, both graduated from high school with honors. My daughter graduated from college with honors and my son is still studying. I felt accomplished, but scared. My 170-pound body had dwindled to 109 pounds. I was in constant pain. I’d already had multiple hospital stays under my belt and no real answers. So, after I sat down and watched my life flash before my eyes, I went home and wrote my will. After making sure it was all legal, I then phoned my family to tell them what I wanted when the time came for them to say goodbye and I proceeded to call 2016 the year of the tombstone.
I will be honest, the moment I got the phone call from the doctor at the Mayo Clinic (they were the ones who finally put a name to what was happening to me), I was relieved — and scared. But mostly relieved. It had a name. I could research. I could figure out how to get through it. Things got worse before they got better, and by better I mean I could walk and talk at the same time, which is still sometimes a challenge.
I made a decision to stop calling it the year of the tombstone. As a person who believes that we speak both life and death, I decided I would speak life. I sat down and wrote a list of positive affirmations and I say them with feeling each and every day, sometimes several times a day. At the top of my list is “I AM healed, whole and full of energy.”
After a while, I started getting more energy. I decided I would find myself the best healthcare and not worry about going broke since I no longer could work. I sold all my things and left the U.S. My family was not happy, especially when you take into account that at the time of this writing, I’m still not a full year into my actual diagnosis. But I made it beyond the “day of reconciliation,” when I reconciled my life and accepted death around this time last year.
The positive affirmations help. Post them to a place that you frequent (I have mine on my bathroom mirror) and say them every single day. When one comes to fruition, be grateful, mark it off and add a new one.
Visualize them coming true in your life, feel happy about their outcome as if it has already happened, and things will look up. I am not saying they will come true in the manner in which you intend. After all, I say I am healed, but there is no cure for lupus. Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t go into remission and remain there for the rest of my days.
It is so easy to get caught up in the negative of a tough situation (like calling your life off by referring to the year of the tombstone), but it is just as easy to decide to be positive. It is a rare occasion that you will find me adding negativity to my days. Life is too short and there are too many wonderful things yet to experience.
Indeed, I hope you will speak life, and if you need some inspiration on what to say to yourself, you can start with these free audio affirmations.
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.