Surviving Change in Your Lupus Fight
Last updated: April 2023
My life has totally changed since my diagnosis. Being a former athlete, I have had the hardest time adjusting. My body has completely changed not only with age but with the progression of my lupus disease. It's been a definite struggle surviving and thriving through the changes.
Changes in my health
Prior to being diagnosed with lupus, I was very active. I had just moved from New York to Virginia, and life had significantly slowed down. That slow down seemed to have manifested lupus in my body with a vengeance. The diagnosis changed my entire life, and I had to change with it fully.
The first thing that changed was the ability to move all of my limbs. My body was a bucket of pain and inflammation. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. Not being able to outstretch my arms or walk was horrible. It took a lot out of me physically, but mentally the toll felt greater.
Learning about my new body
I didn't have time to really digest my diagnosis and the changes it brought in my life. It was a whirlwind of doctors, specialists, tears, and pain. Physically, I was spent; I had to begin to settle into my new body that was riddled with lupus. Just realizing that my body was changing every second with lupus helped me start to tune into my body. I learned what set my body afire and what cooled it down—beginning that process by journaling my pain and consciously paying attention to my body.
Mentally taking control of surviving
Mentally I was drained. The onset of lupus created a whirlwind of emotional strain. I felt lost and scared. That fear turned into complete panic and anxiety. Finally, I felt sad. Sad that my body would never be the same after lupus manifested itself in it. It became a tug of war with my physical and mental. Then it clicked. If I checked myself mentally, I would see a change in my physical body. This was the beginning of surviving the change in my lupus fight.
Making the decision
Ultimately, I had a decision to make. Stay in my fear and sadness over my diagnosis or make a plan to overcome it. I chose to change my focus purposely. Refocusing from being diagnosed with lupus to making a life beyond lupus. I wrote it down, recited my need, and mentally created the desire to be well despite lupus.
Now listen, I can't say this was the easiest. In all actuality, it was quite hard. It took some time to get through the mourning of my old self. After a while, I was able to accept that I was diagnosed with lupus by tuning into myself wholly. Not just with the pain, but with the purpose it would have in my life.
It's so difficult to survive the ills of lupus. I have figured out it's even more difficult to live in spite of lupus with a positive attitude to see it through. It gets rough sometimes, but through meditation and mindful living, I am able to heal just enough to get through those tough lupus moments. This attitude has given me the will to not only survive the changes that lupus brings in my life but also thrive far beyond lupus' grips.
Have there been things you have learned along your lupus journey that you wish had been explained to you by a healthcare provider earlier?