Day 8, A letter to my health.
Dear My Health,
Thanks for sticking through all the crazy things going on. You have been there for me through thick and thin. I have often heard from doctors, “With all you have going on, you are very healthy.”
At first, I thought these doctors were nuts, then I had a kind of awakening. After 18 years since my first diagnosis and 22 years since my onset of symptoms, I’m still here. Health, you have been enduring an onslaught of attacks from the complications of scleroderma and sarcoidosis like; contracted hands, Raynaud’s, difficulty breathing, limited range of motion and near death experiences: but with every setback, I recover by adapting to the changes and doing everything I can in my power to stop progression because of our combined strength.
I may sound overly happy and kind of sucking up to you right now, but I really feel that the diseases, scleroderma and sarcoidosis are just a part of my life. Without other aspects of my health that existed, my body would not have been strong enough to handle what came my way. Yes, my hands are severely damaged. Yes, my lungs have parts that are scarred by pulmonary fibrosis and my depression was at one time was life threatening. We both almost lost our fight then. I was so disappointed, you joined me and we stopped eating until we nearly starved to death. But then, we went and got help with our depression. It wasn’t and is still not always easy, but you fought back and kept me moving to get the treatment I needed. You, Health, kept me stubborn. Stubborn and pig-headed. Just ask my mom and dad and my Aunt Vicky and a barrage of cousins. I have one hell of a stubborn streak and you and I both use that stubbornness to keep going. Yes, it’s good to be a Scorpio.
In 1996, when my fingers were covered in ulcers, you kept the rest of my body going. Somehow, I had the strength to get the help and treatment I needed four hours away at the Veteran’s Hospitals in Madison and Milwaukee Wisconsin and saved most of my thumb and the rest of my hands. I kept smoking and eventually you smacked me upside the head and made me quit smoking in 1998 by remaining patient as I smoked less and less. I’m not even sure the exact date I stopped because you gave me time to phase smoking out of my daily habits and cigarettes became an afterthought and inconvenience. Thank you for not giving up on me.
When I was pregnant with my son, you made it so I had seven months of feeling like I had no chronic illness. It felt good. It was short-lived, but I enjoyed it and that seven months inspired me by giving me hope that feeling good was possible. Health, thank you for the warning signs of seeing orange spots that got me to the hospital and saved both me and my son’s life. I had no idea my blood pressure was so high, but after all these years of listening to you, I have learned to take a hint. I do wish we could’ve lowered my blood pressure before the c-section so they could’ve told me I had HELLP Syndrome, another pregnancy would most likely kill me and ask me if I wanted my tubes tied, but hey- I’m cool- we’re still here aren’t we?
Health, you can be demanding. You are not shy about letting me know I’m not eating well by throwing my GI track out of wack to get me on the right diet or eating style. I know at first, we both didn’t want to change our diets and all that scar tissue I didn’t know was covering my esophagus allowed us to enjoy jalapeños during the first trimester when pregnant. We’re not perfect. Oh such good times, but we learned our lesson, didn’t we? Thanks for hanging in there while we worked together in speech therapy to develop good habits and keep food going down the throat and not into our lungs.
Remember when we did yoga every day for over a year and regained the ability to walk barefoot and better range of motion? Such good times. Thanks for hanging in there while I try to get back on track. I have really been slacking, but I know you are going to help me get through this and we will both enjoy the rewards that come with it.
Health, we’ve been through a lot together. Thanks for fighting with me and not giving up. We’ve got about 50 years to go so we can see our son go to Mars and meet our grandkids. Thanks for continuing to fight the good fight with me. Together, we will continue to kick scleroderma and sarcoidosis’ asses and be around to see their names taken and followed by: Cured.