Nov. 20, 2017

Sharing the Journey: Giving Thanks to…

The Sharing the Journey series is by you and for you. In your own words, we highlight the perspectives and personal experiences of people who struggle with lupus each day. This month, we asked Sharing the Journey participants the following question:

This Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for that has helped you through your lupus journey?

Having lupus makes you more thankful for the little things in life. I am thankful for all the good days I have that there is no joint pain or overwhelming fatigue. I’m also super thankful to my family and friends for being so supportive of me, especially when I need extra help. – Roxi W.

I may be going against the standard train of thought, but this year I am thankful for lupus itself. Aside from the everyday pain and struggles, the struggles actually help me grow as a person. My health issues inspired me to work in health management and pursue an MPH. Without these obstacles, I may have never found my true purpose of helping people coping with disease and injury. I have a second family with LFA, and have the opportunity to meet with fellow warriors who encourage each other every step of the way through life. I have become more strong-willed because of lupus. Every day brings a new mental test to try to be better than I was the day before. Although lupus took away a certain quality of life, I gained so much that will follow me throughout my entire life socially, professionally, and introspectively. When you think about it the right way, it has been a blessing in disguise. – Brittany W.

I am thankful for all of the amazing chronic illness warriors I have met on this journey who have helped and supported me, and many of whom have become cherished friends. – Leslie R.

I am thankful for so many things as it applies to coping with lupus, but since the seasons are changing I am particularly thankful for HotHands. I keep them in my pockets, and I use the ones that go in the sole of the shoe. This helps to minimize joint pain in my hands and feet during the cold weather. I also have Raynaud's phenomenon, which benefits greatly from HotHands as well. In addition, I am thankful for a significant other who recognizes the signs of lupus activity even when I don't want to say anything about it. He goes above and beyond to make sure I'm getting my rest, fluids, medications, and anything else I may need to bounce back quickly. – Kayla B.

I am thankful that I have an awesome rheumatologist and team of doctors. I am also thankful to have very caring and supportive family and friends who help me along this journey. – LaTrease B.

I am thankful for my intuitive nature which has led me to be able to heal myself in ways that the medical world hasn't been able to offer me. – Betsy S.

I am thankful for my rheumatologist and his office staff. Their efficiency and professionalism is sprinkled with genuine concern and care. Even though they see some very ill patients, the staff never fails to make me smile and laugh before I leave. I know they see a lot of patients every day, but the nurses always make an effort to remember my name and ask me how school is going. One day last year, I accidentally slept through my alarm and completely missed my appointment, but the receptionist calmly answered my panicked call and allowed me to come in as soon as I could make it there. My doctor, who is very knowledgeable and professional, knows the answer to every question I have ever asked him, and he never shies away from telling me about troubling signs in my blood work. But every time he brings up a problem with my health, he mentions something I can do to control it which makes me feel very empowered. All in all, I am so grateful for my wonderful healthcare providers and don't know what I would do without them! – Becca M.

I have gone through so much in my five years of having Lupus. The two things I am so thankful for that helped me strive and have the urge to fight was my mother and cheerleading. If it wasn’t for both of these influences, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Throughout my journey my mom has supported me and provided any comfort that was needed. She even helped me persevere through my illness as well as depression. My mother has been a significant influence and support system for me while working full-time, raising five kids and going back to school. She was always there for me and without her I probably couldn’t persevere through this difficult challenge. She has taught me that nothing is ever too much in your life that you cannot handle if you really strive for it. Another influence is cheerleading. I was on the high school spirit line during the first two years of high school. Having the ability to do cheer was one of my hardest and greatest accomplishments. During that time I went through eight rounds of chemotherapy. In high school, I was pushed past my limits. Limits that I didn’t even know I had. I have learned that I have to fight twice as hard as the average person because of my illness. I fought through everything and still continue to fight. It was hard work, but in the end it was all worth it. One thing I learned from cheer is that if you really want something you have to push for it no matter what obstacle comes in your way. Because my immune system was always compromised, any time I would get sick the doctors would want to put me in the hospital. I refused each time. I am doing extremely well and my lab work is great for someone with lupus. I was notified by my doctors three years ago that I am in remission. Now in my freshman year of college, I have to work really hard to maintain my 4.0 GPA, working full-time, and taking many college classes. I haven’t let anything stop me and my hard work and determination is why I am able to achieve all the success in my life. I am extremely proud of myself and of everything I have accomplished. I never once let lupus stop me from doing something I love and believe in. – Kyra S.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and safe holiday travels!