Life Lessons of 2008

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I’m not big on making resolutions.  I do like to reflect on the year each December.

2008 has taught me many things.  Here are the most important ones.

#1.   Obtaining competent and compassionate health care is my responsibility. I’m just one of millions of people that have lupus.  If I took a passive stance about managing my life with this disease I think I’d be in a mental institution by now.  This disease is complicated and no two people suffer with identical problems.   In 2008 I managed to change rheumatologists, obtain second opinions from dermatologists, investigate alternative care therapies, and transferred off-label lupus medications to a specialty pharmacy.  I researched clinical trials about photosensitive skin disorders.  I was prepared to go to Johns Hopkins to see the director of the Lupus Clinic.  I was relentless.  I was also incredibly frustrated. I cried a lot.  I saw my therapist on a regular basis.   This year I started being my own case manager. Lately, I have trouble remembering what the doctor tells me, or what issues I want to discuss when I have appointments.  Now I ask someone to go with me to be my eyes and ears.  I demand excellent health care.  And even if I get upset, angry and cry, I will not let anything stand in my way of getting honest answers and viable treatment options.

#2.   It takes time to recover from unrequited love. As a matter of fact, it takes time to realize you’re hoping for the impossible.   I don’t know if I’ll ever be capable of trusting someone with my heart.  But  I will heal.  And it will take as long as it takes.

#3.   Writing this blog has been a joyful experience. I’m no Dorothy Parker or Ann Raynd, but I do love to write.  Writing gives me clarity and great joy.  I’m amazed by the support received from friends, strangers and fellow bloggers.  Whether I’m writing about lupus or life in general, being able to connect with people who relate to these posts has been an enriching and positive experience.  It’s opened up a new world for me and I’m grateful!

#4.  Less is more. Less rooms to clean gave me more time to read … or write.  Less stress at work lowered my blood pressure.  Less debt this year allowed me to have more fun spending the money I do have!  Less useless crap in my basement is a blessing.  Less prednisone means healthier bones, less dizziness and less bruises.

#5.  I still have time. I hope to have years to fill with wonderful, enriching experiences.  There are friendships to enjoy and babies to rock.  I will travel.  There is music to listen to and good books to read.  I still have time for long lazy summer days, sitting in the shade at the water’s edge and breathing in fresh air.  There is much to learn.  There are many things to write and rant about.

#6. I am not my disease. That’s the long and short of living with lupus.

I wish you the very best in the coming year!

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7 responses »

  1. Howdy, and Happy New Year to you, my friend. I don’t have Lupus, but I am a diabetic and I agree wholeheartedly with your #6. Amen to that and thank the heavens!

    All the best to you, always. Here’s hoping that 2009 will bring us closer together.

    Thanks so much Allison! I’m sure 2009 will bring us closer!

  2. Thank you for not being Ann Raynd… I’ve tried to read her stuff I don’t know how many times and always end up drooling within 15 minutes. You’re MUCH better than that.

    Wow! And thanks! 🙂

  3. I love your life lessons, lupus ranting. Good for you on all of them! Especially numbers 1 and 6, so important…then again i hate to single them out because they’re all terrific. Have a happy and healthy new year my friend!

    I hope you have a wonderful, healthy 2009 Psychscribe dear!

  4. Those are great things to remember. I love your list. I also truly believe that nobody should be passive about their health care. Nobody is going to fight for you more than you will for yourself and you are WORTH IT – just like that old hair color commercial used to say. Unrequited love does suck. It hurts. Hopefully the pain fades with the passing of time and doesn’t dampen any future enjoyment of relationships. You are a good, clear, and interesting writer. You may not be a famous novelist but neither am I. The only thing I write at the moment is my blog (and my private journal notes) and I may not be very talented but I am nevertheless a writer of sorts. I wish you a wonderful year and many more plus much time to enjoy the good and important things. 🙂

    Teeni, you have such a wonderful heart, thank you! You’re a fabulous writer and a lovely person who always takes time to be supportive and kind. Thanks for your kind words. I hope you have a blessed and healthy 2009!!

  5. Thank you so much for writing this list…I have a sister in law who has MS and stews in her own misery. It PAINS me to see her dwell in the every day pulling in the negative and allowing it to seep into her soul. I have Lupus, and was recently diagnosed. I too feel frustrated every day but need to constantly remind myself of something positive, ANYTHING to hold onto that can remind me of all that I do have. Thank you for reminding us that there are blessings in the mundane every day in each of our lives if we are strong and brave enough to pull them in and notice.

    Much happiness in 2009!

    Kristine

    Sometimes just holding on when we’re miserable is good enough. I’ll keep you both in my prayers. Stay strong and God bless!

  6. Your lessons of 2008 are inspiring. The idea that resiliency is a common thread provides a strong message to all those who think in absolutes. Love is complicated both when it means loving ourselves as well as another person. It’s our belief in ourselves, not love or others that allows each of us to wobble but not fall down. I’m glad you have more time to write and read because they allow you to provide nurturance, love and support to the person who counts most…you!

  7. As #1 went for your illness in 2008 is how 2009 will be for my financial health right now. This year I want to get control of my finances the way you’ve taken control of your health care. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it for my peace of mind before the year is out.

    Good for you and I hope you stay strong!! 🙂

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