Cliche, I know. But sometimes it fits.
People ask me all the time what is lupus. They know people who have it but have never asked them about it, not wanting to pry or seem like they are uninformed.
I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease about 5 years ago but probably suffered for years before, chalking it up to over exertion, that time of the month muscle soreness, etc. I could find a dozen excuses why I needed a 3 hour nap in the middle of the afternoon just to make it to bedtime. For me, it effects the connective muscles between my joints, and I mean all my joints, from my pinky to my little toe. A kind of pain that leaves you immobile. And something you just have to wait out, most of the time. Becomes very inconvenient when I have a busy weekend planned or am attending my brother’s wedding and have to forgo the reception celebration so I can huddle in my hotel room, wrapped in blankets, taking anti-inflammatory pain killers, hoping for a quick release so I can enjoy what remains of our family vacation. That’s the down side.
The upside is it made me prioritize where I expend energy. In the Bible, Paul begs God three times to remove a thorn or pain from his life. When that doesn’t happen, he instead praises God for allowing it, a constant reminder of his need for reliance on Him. I’ve had to learn the same lesson. I would not wish lupus on anyone but it has slowed me down quite a bit, allowing my career to shift from running a busy tearoom and catering company to writing, a life-long passion. I believe He needed to put this ‘thorn’ in my life to keep my eyes on what really matters. I’ve pared down my work load to include the things that have Him at the center of my motivation, catering funerals, writing novels, making time for friends and walking at our local indoor track, in invaluable time of listening to my Christian music while literally walking with Him for overall better health.
I had to mourn in stages the things I had set aside that I thought were my identity but embracing this disease and living within its limitations have given me a new hope for this next phase of my life.
Oh, as an add-on to the missed wedding reception, my daughter and sister did not want to leave me alone so when we got back to our hotel room, we changed into our pajamas, put on a cheesy Christmas movie, broke out a box of gluten free, dairy free chocolate glazed chocolate donuts (yes, Virginia, they do exist!) and had an amazing time just being together and laughing at the the overzealous actors trying to save a hapless Santa from ruining the holidays. Best present ever!