I haven’t been feeling myself this past week. I don’t know if it’s the weather or the approach of my birthday that has me feeling slightly depressed. I’m sure the sarcoidosis has something to do with it since side effects include random feelings of anxiety and depression.
This time last year, I was in the hospital for a “slight” spontaneous pneumothorax (as if there is such a thing). I celebrated my birthday with a chest tube instead of sipping a cocktail and grilling on one of my two smokers. Maybe it’s the memories or the weather — it rained every day this week — that has me down.
Maybe I’ve been doing too much thinking. For the most part, I’m feeling really good and I’m continuing to make progress. But being unable to work in the capacity I was able to do before my health issues can make me feel inadequate. I applied for a few jobs, but no luck. Of the résumés I sent out, I received two responses — thanks, but no thanks.
Staying out of my way
Therein lies the rub: staying out of my own way.
I can tell when I get in my way. I’ll start to put things off. I’ll have one or two more cocktails than usual, and I’ll just listlessly bump around the house. The closer it came to my birthday, the more of this behavior I was exhibiting. I felt like a loner.
I tell my wife that this year I want to invite some friends over for a small celebration. We usually host a gathering twice a year: either a yard party for my birthday or our anniversary, and a big neighborhood block party. We decide to have the gathering, and as uncomfortable as it feels planning and texting people about it, I have to get that sense of normalcy back in my life. We decide to have it on Sunday, the day before my birthday.
Three days before my birthday, all I can think about is being in the hospital last year. I feel guilty about looking forward to my birthday — and celebrating it. Last year, I was alone for most of the day until my family came to see me. I have to remind myself that sarcoidosis is no fault of my own. I didn’t choose it, and I shouldn’t let it make me feel guilty and alone because I have it.
Time to celebrate
Sunday comes and we hit the ground running, picking up last-minute things, cooking, and getting the house together. I am still a bit nervous, but the more I do the more comfortable I become. People start arriving and the house fills up quickly. I haven’t seen some of them since my multiple spontaneous pneumothorax, and others were there with me for the whole ride. I start feeling like my old self again, and folks are surprised by the progress I have made.
We all laugh, eat, and enjoy my wife’s special punch. My wife’s concoctions are always a big hit at our gatherings; my smoked meats are as well! It brings back good memories of the times we had in the past, and I am feeling like I could do this again soon. I gotta keep the ball rolling!
You make a difference
We started the celebration around 3 p.m., and the last guest arrived after 7. After all was said and done, we had an awesome time hanging out and catching up. During the celebration, I found out a friend’s son who lives in Hawaii was experiencing serious health issues himself, and another friend was starting treatment for multiple myeloma.
Everyone who came expressed how much they appreciated the invite, and how glad they were that they had come to celebrate with me. I guess the days leading up to that Sunday could be viewed as me being selfish and hiding within myself, not willing to share “me.” I had a reason and the resources to bring people together, and most who attended needed the gathering more than me. The last guest left about 11 p.m., and I remained awake until midnight. I had to welcome another year, and remain thankful for the years before.
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