Sarcoidosis Helped Me Put Things in Perspective

Sarcoidosis Helped Me Put Things in Perspective

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of introspection. I’ve been thinking about how I came to be in this situation — living with sarcoidosis — and how I’m not going to let this illness define the rest of my life. I’ve also been thinking about what I am going to do with myself to ensure that I make the most out of my life. Overall, this helped me put things in perspective.

It’s been three years since I’ve had a real job, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that it’s difficult transitioning from breadwinner to a person living with a disability. The spontaneous pneumothorax I experienced has taken a toll on my family, but we remain positive that things will get better. I still have my sense of humor, my ability to take care of myself, and my family. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way within yourself to make it happen.

I took a personal inventory.

I was looking for a pair of socks to wear to the gym and I made an unusual discovery in my sock drawer. I didn’t realize that every time I went to the hospital, I would bring home a few pairs of those comfortable footies they give to patients — the ones with the little grips on the soles.

I counted 19 pairs of brand new hospital footies, still in their cellophane package! I stopped wearing them a few months ago, so they were basically just taking up space in my drawer. I put them on my bed and, when my wife saw them, she asked, “Why do you have so many of those socks?” I laughed and told her that I’ve always liked them because they’re comfortable.

And then it hit me: How can I really get my life back when I keep holding onto things that remind me of my lowest point?

My wife is a mental health counselor, so I gathered the socks and put them in a shopping bag. I told her to take them to work and give them to people who would appreciate them; they’ve served my purpose, so it was time to let them do someone else some good. She thought it was a great idea and thanked me for my donation.

I made another discovery.

I started thinking about other ways in which I might be sabotaging my rehabilitative efforts. Once I returned home from the gym, I looked in my medicine cabinet. I counted all of the medications I’ve been prescribed over the past two years: There were eight in the cabinet and nine in a Ziploc bag my wife put aside because I no longer needed them. There I was, looking at 17 bottles of medications and a cough syrup my doctors had prescribed me. Out of all of those medications, I’m currently only taking one. Why am I still holding onto them?

It’s time to move on.

During one of my many stays in the hospital, my son took my cellphone and changed the wallpaper to a picture of the sky he took from my window with the caption, “Time to move on!”

Let that sink in. It was time to move on.

Since then, I’ve made several lifestyle changes that have benefited me. I’ve taken a more serious approach to improving my quality of life. I’ve enrolled in several online courses, specifically one on nutrition and health because I love to cook. I have a ServSafe Food Protection Manager’s Certificate, so I think it’s about time to put that to use along with my passion for food.

I’ve pretty much eliminated all things negative that I was unknowingly attached to, the last being the hospital footies and the medications. The hardest thing was the people I thought would be there for me but weren’t. At first, I felt guilty, but as I made the move, I felt better about my decision. It’s not that I don’t like them anymore; it’s just that I have a clearer understanding of where I stand with them and the importance they put on our relationship.

I think it’s in our best interests to “clean house” of things and people that will no longer benefit us in our fight with sarcoidosis — or anything, really. It’s time to move on because a better you is closer than you think.

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Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.

Charlton is an independent video producer and video editor located in the Philadelphia, PA area. He has worked over a combined 25 years in advertising, legal education and as an independent creative services provider. He’s also a serious homebrewer, certified food protection manager and culinary “smoker-master” specializing in bbq and all things smoked and grilled.
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Charlton is an independent video producer and video editor located in the Philadelphia, PA area. He has worked over a combined 25 years in advertising, legal education and as an independent creative services provider. He’s also a serious homebrewer, certified food protection manager and culinary “smoker-master” specializing in bbq and all things smoked and grilled.

2 comments

  1. Marcy L medley says:

    Thank you so much for this, I have spent this entire summer doing just this! I have had people say you look fantastic and I want to scream, I am NOT letting this define me. I am going to live and be me!

    • Charlton Harris says:

      You’re so very welcome! I’m so glad to hear that you’re NOT letting this define who you are. I’m continuing to enjoy my summer with people who I enjoy spending time with and I’m glad you’re doing the same!

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