My Brother’s Move Home Has Lightened My Sarcoidosis Burden

My Brother’s Move Home Has Lightened My Sarcoidosis Burden

I don’t cry often. So, one morning recently, as I stared out of the window at breakfast, I was surprised when tears started streaming down my face.

I had been feeling worn out and overwhelmed for weeks, fearing that the life I’ve rebuilt would come crumbling down. I hadn’t felt like the warrior rejuvenated by a weekend getaway in a while. I struggled to go to my part-time job every day, returning home with nothing left to give. My to-do lists had turned into a stack of “I have no energy for that” notes.

Sharing the burden

Then, last week, within 24 hours of arriving from Florida, my younger brother, Antony, was running around helping me with whatever I needed. I had cried at the knowledge that this time he’s not just here visiting our family in Pennsylvania, he’s moved back to live. The realization that he’s here to stay has made the ongoing burden of my sarcoidosis feel much lighter. 

Pushing through with help

My days with sarcoidosis are unpredictable. I never know how much pain, fatigue, brain fog, or other symptoms will be riding along on any given day. My health battles can make everything I need to accomplish feel like mountains rather than minor hurdles. Most days, I have a small window to tackle the necessities before sarcoidosis puts its foot down and says, “No more.”

Life’s tasks can pile up and overwhelm me. When that happens, my younger brother never fails to bring me off my emotional cliff with three words: “I got you.” He has been an incredible support to me throughout my illness, even when he was living 1,100 miles away.

A little goes a long way

My family has been an integral part of my battle with sarcoidosis. But it’s the little things that they do outside of my healthcare that make me smile and carry me through the low points.

My sister, whose eyes glaze over at the mention of football, gave me a mug bearing the logo of my favorite team, the New Orleans Saints. Her gesture warmed my heart because she recognized the logo, a fleur-de-lis, so I know that though I bore her with my football fandom, she listens to me.

My niece, Nautica, returning from her senior class trip to Disney World, Orlando, surprised me with “Black Panther” comic books she’d bought for me. My mom accompanies me to the front door to see me off whenever I leave, whether I’m going out of town or up the street to the store.

My dad leaves Wawa pumpkin spice muffins — seasonal products that sell out before I can buy them — on the breakfast table for me. Being able to laugh while enjoying the company of my younger brother, who is by my side instead of 1,100 miles away, make the toughest days much easier.

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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.

Athena Merritt was a journalist for 20 years until her prolonged battle with sarcoidosis forced her out of work. As she rebuilds her life, she hopes to bring humor, inspiration and knowledge to others in the process.
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Athena Merritt was a journalist for 20 years until her prolonged battle with sarcoidosis forced her out of work. As she rebuilds her life, she hopes to bring humor, inspiration and knowledge to others in the process.

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