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Spreading a little truth

March 21, 2013

Many times during the months since my diagnosis, people have told me, “You are handling this so well!”  This is usually while they themselves are crying.

Truth #1 — crying is OK.  Truth #2 — I am not always Polly Positive.

I think I am handling my diagnosis OK, but I definitely have down days.  I have cried, I have been a wee bit depressed, and I have felt like my life has serious limits.  When those times come, I indulge myself for a short time and then get on with my life.

I want to tell you about two people I know/knew.

  • I grew up with a girl who eventually married and had two children.  When her youngest child was two years old, my friend and her husband drove into town.  Something went terribly wrong during those 30 minutes because when they arrived she could not stand up.  Her husband took her directly to the hospital.  Within an hour, she was paralyzed from the chin down and breathing on a respirator.  This was in 2006.  She is now off the respirator but has been paralyzed from the neck down ever since.  She motors around in a wheelchair, mothers her children, and  (I am not making this up) is back to teaching school.  She has an autoimmune disorder like I do, but hers is WAY WORSE.  Knowing this does not make me any better physically, but it is a pretty quick attitude adjuster.
  • My husband worked with a young woman who was a mother to two pre-school aged children.  She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and dead within 2 weeks.  Words fail me in this situation.

We all know horror stories, but I take them personally.  They do not make me depressed or fatalistic, but they do make me seriously grateful.

I believe that Christ came to earth, was crucified, and died for my sins.  I do not believe He did this so that I would live a happy, well-adjusted life.  He had bigger goals in mind.  He never promised that life would be easy, and sometimes it truly is not.

I am reading The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.  He has a great TED video here.

One thing in the book struck me:

Post-Traumatic Growth
Bereavement, bone marrow transplantation, breast cancer, chronic illness, heart attack, military combat, natural disaster, physical assault, refugee displacement.  If this reads like a random clip from an alphabetized nightmare list of the very worst things that can befall us, that’s because it basically is.  But it also happens to be a list of events that researchers have found to spur profound positive growth in many individuals.

I like this idea.

How can I grow through Relapsing Polychondritis?


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One Comment
  1. I will say that you are a very good friend and mentor.
    I think this is hugely important in so many, many ways.

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