If Lupus Is the Reason I Can’t Push Through, I’m Not Making Excuses

If Lupus Is the Reason I Can’t Push Through, I’m Not Making Excuses


Last week I caught my second cold for the year and followed it up with a sinus infection for good measure. Unfortunately, it’s only to be expected when the beautiful Australian summer finally gives way to autumn’s cool change, especially when you’ve heavily and deliberately suppressed your immune system for the better part of three years.

When “normal” people’s immune systems can’t cope and average Joe starts coughing and spluttering, I’m walking into a minefield of viral illnesses.

Last Monday was my first bi-weekly seminar for the year at university. The online noticeboard couldn’t stress enough how vital attendance was. Even though I knew how badly I needed to be there, it just wasn’t possible. While my classmates assigned themselves groups and got on with a major assessment task, I was comatose at home, absolutely steamrolled by the common cold.

The simple explanation that I couldn’t attend class because of a cold becomes anything but simple. For most people, catching a cold is not at all debilitating. You cough and sneeze, you feel a little off, and within the week you’re pretty much over it. It’s hard for others to understand why illness affects me so severely.

Emailing my class tutor to explain my absence with “I caught a cold” doesn’t cut it. It seems an unworthy excuse. The only way to justify the truth is to launch into a semi-detailed account about lupus and immunosuppressive medication. It’s the only way to take what would be considered an “excuse” and make it a legitimate “reason.”

I find myself in this position a lot: trying to transform what would usually be considered an excuse into a reason. But more often than not, I just don’t bother.

You see, if I’m advocating for lupus I could talk your ear off without hesitation. Give me not even a moment of notice, and I’ll be your open book. I permit you to ask me anything. Get as deep and personal about my chronic illness as you dare, and I’ll remain blatantly unashamed.

But outside of advocating and raising awareness, I’m hesitant in bringing up the topic of lupus. Having a chronic illness is not an excuse to unnecessarily take the easy way out in life, and I never want to be viewed as if I might. Even when it comes to something completely out of my control, I’ll try my hardest to find a way to push through, if only to limit the times lupus has to be a reason I can’t do something.

It shouldn’t be like that. I should be able to explain myself and have someone believe me without fearing they might question the validity of my explanation. But the majority of the world seems to understand and accept only what it has already experienced. And unfortunately for me, the experience of prominent and recurring health issues in young adulthood is rare.

When I need to use lupus as a reason, believe that I have attempted to think of any means necessary to avoid doing so. Needing to tell someone that the reason I can’t do something is lupus-related means there are no other options available. Trust that there is good reason behind my need to explain my medical history, that though I really wanted to, this time I just couldn’t push through 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.

One comment

  1. CMS Sanders says:

    My dear Kristiana;
    I am so sorry to hear you are under the weather.
    Your explanation of not wanting to share your Lupus diagnosis is very on point. Sometimes I have felt that to be transparent was to be honest. The premise that your have to confess everything to another is ridiculous. Often in an effort to be honest I shared my Lupus diagnosis. Quite often, like 90% of the time , it alienated people. They did not know what to say or how to act. So now they had to avoid me. They did not understand anything about Lupus and I felt stupid thinking they would understand. Expecting support or even tolerance from the wrong sources is painful. I felt like a leper. Your reluctance is justified. However your education is vital. I would hope your instructor could understand about Lupus and it might help her to be more tolerant of a future student who possibly had to battle organ involved Lupus. You are not some spoiled girl who has the sniffles: big difference. Please accept my hearfelt encouragement to stand up for you. What would you tell a fellow Lupus friend in all honesty.Any meds your doc advises? Vitamin B, C, D help me. Keep us posted and wishing you better days. Sending “chicken soup” from far away . Hugs, Christine

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