Being diagnosed with lupus made me aware that my body was self-destructive. Coming to terms with my illness was made harder because I couldn’t pinpoint a cause, and therefore had nothing to blame but my own body. When it comes to writing about my body, it often comes from a place of unresolved anger. However, for this column, I whistle a different tune as I pen a letter of love and thanks to my incredible body.
Through all the fatigue, insomnia and other lupus-induced side affects, it’s easy to focus on what I’m no longer capable of doing. But rather than emphasize all that it can’t do anymore, I’d love to say thank you to my body for all it can do and still does.
When you’re constantly forced to acknowledge and remember the limitations placed on your life by chronic illness, it’s easy to overlook the hard work that goes into just living life. My brain loves to point out all the things I could, should and would have been able to do without lupus, but tonight I remind myself of all the work my body does just to keep me alive and functioning.
Admittedly and obviously with its faults, my body still is an absolutely amazing machine. Looking back on all that I’ve been through in the past year-and-a-half, I sit in awe of the display of unwavering fight and sheer resilience that it puts in, day in and day out.
From gaining 12 kilograms (26½ pounds) and having mild impairment of the kidneys before diagnosis, to gaining weight from steroids and being perpetually bombarded with medication, my body has bounced back from it all. And although it’s taken me far too long to acknowledge how incredible it is, right now I can’t help but feel overwhelming gratitude and overpowering love for this wonderful and truly inspiring form.
Although lupus attacks me internally, I have to admit that in some ways I’m just as merciless to my body on the outside. Lupus may be trying to beat the hell out of my kidneys whenever it gets the chance, but between forcing myself out of bed early for long days at work and university, and pushing myself hard to run and improve myself at the gym, I by no means give it the easy route, either.
I find myself thinking of my body like a wonderful, albeit battered, old friend. We’ve been through a lot together, and for the most part we understand one another.
If my body were a person, I’d say I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the anger and the hate I sometimes feel toward you. It’s not that I’m actually angry with you or that I feel genuine hatred, but I’m often upset and scared about what’s happening to us. I’m sorry for the ill-chosen mistakes I sometimes make, like when I can’t help but cheat on our low-sodium diet or have a few too many drinks with friends. And I’m sorry that I don’t understand more about lupus, but I promise I’m doing absolutely everything I can.
But even more than that, I’d have an overwhelming number of thank-yous. Thank you for still functioning when I can’t seem to find more than a few hours sleep. Thank you for adjusting to the new medications, time and time again. Thank you for continuing to be amazing in ways I didn’t even know you could be.
And more important than anything else: Thank you for continuing to fight even when my mind felt like it couldn’t fight anymore, for always sticking it to lupus and making sure it knew that it was a second-class citizen, and for repairing us time after time while I slept, unaware of all your overtime and hard work.
My beautiful body, while I’m fully aware that we’re nowhere near perfect, between your resilience and my unfaltering determination, we’re a perfect team. And you know what? We’ve got this and we know it!
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.