Friday, June 19, 2015

Lessons From Lupus

Lupus is a crazy disease. There are so many complicated parts and everything is interrelated that it can be exhausting just to think about. I try really hard to not complain about my lupus because there are far worse diseases and I know there are people who have much more severe lupus cases than I do. That being said if I could magically cure myself I totally would because lupus does limit my life in a lot of ways. On the flip side, I've learned a lot of valuable lessons from lupus too. One of the biggest lessons I've learned is who my true friends are. 

Lupus can be a very lonely disease, especially if you don't know anyone who has it. A lot of people have a really hard time understanding that just because you don't look sick doesn't mean that you aren't sick. People have a hard time understanding that I can't go out and be out until 1AM because I pay for it for weeks. People don't understand the constant tiredness you feel or the daily aches and pains. I generally do not tell anyone how I'm feeling unless they ask- even then if I don't know them very well I'll probably say "ok."  For some people my lupus has been too much to deal with so they couldn't be my friend anymore (true story). 

I had several friends just vanish from my life when I started going through everything last summer. They simply wouldn't respond to my texts or calls and a few of them later told me they didn't want to "catch" lupus, which isn't even possible. I spent many days crying about how I missed my friends, but when I really thought about it those people weren't my friends anyway. 

Friends are people who have your back no matter what. Friends are the people who find out you're in the hospital and drop everything to rush up there. Friends are people who try to make gluten free foods and bring them to you. Friends are the ones you can call and cry to because you're having a really bad day. Friends are the ones who can sit next to you in silence but their mere presence is enough. Friends are the ones who call and text to see how your doctor appointment went or to tell you they're praying for you. Friends are the ones who don't let you say you're "ok" when they know you're in pain. Friends are supportive. Friends are loving. Friends are people who fill your life with joy.

I could literally continue for a very long time. At the end of the day I learned that I would rather have a few really good friends who are always there for me and vice versa than a lot of "friends." One of the days that literally made my heart overflow with joy was Lupus Awareness Day. I asked people I knew to wear purple to support lupus research and the response I got was overwhelming- it literally brought tears to my eyes to see everyone posting pictures of them wearing purple. Those are (some of) the people who I love to the moon and back. Those people are the people who I would do anything for because I know they would do anything for me. 

If I could change my diagnosis I absolutely would (no one wants to live with any disease), but at the end of the day it's strengthened the relationships I have with so many people. Lupus has brought people into my life who are living with the same disease and they have become like family to me. It's never fun to learn the hard way who your friends are, but the ones who stick around through the good and the bad are friends who are worth having <3

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