DIY Project Drills Home Important Sarcoidosis Lessons

Athena Merritt avatar

by Athena Merritt |

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A pile of boards and bolts stood before me as the first inkling of doubt crept in. Gathering what tools I could find — a small hammer and two old screwdrivers — didn’t boost my confidence. It was seven steps to creation. What it turned out to be was a reminder of coping with sarcoidosis. 

On a recent Friday afternoon, I decided to kick off the weekend by assembling a new desk. I needed a win, something to shake off the doldrums that had been accumulating. It was an intimidating project with 57 components, but I jumped right in because previously I had pieced together furniture on my own.

Step one went smoothly after I figured out what the heck a cam bolt is and where they went. Step two ended up with me retreating to my couch in defeat while cursing the incomprehensible (as far as I was concerned) directions. The project remained sprawled across my living room floor for the remainder of the weekend. 

Hitting a roadblock so early in my efforts crushed my confidence. It made me feel overwhelmed, frustrated, helpless, and alone. It’s the same way sarcoidosis, which I was diagnosed with in 2002, can still make me feel on any given day. 

These past fews months while quarantined, I’ve buried my emotions, which only bubble to the surface after visiting family. It’s a bad habit of mine that ended with the usual result: a mini-meltdown over something insignificant. I dealt with the setback the same way I manage sarcoidosis.

First, I wallowed in my emotions. You’ve likely heard of the health benefits of positive thinking, as The New York Times detailed a few years ago. Realistically, at times I’m angry, frustrated, and weary of dealing with chronic illness. Releasing negative feelings, even when they are misdirected (like on furniture I can’t assemble), helps.

Once my frustration with what I referred to as a “stupid desk” subsided, I began considering options to finish it. Battling a rare disease can feel isolating, especially amid a pandemic, but we are not alone. Family, friends, and even strangers can help. I was reminded of this when I stopped by my parents’ house and was given a care package from my niece, Nautica. It was filled with snacks, toiletries, games, and thoughtful gifts. 

I went home feeling renewed. I did what I’ve been doing for years with sarcoidosis: I picked up the pieces and tried again. I’m writing this column from my new desk, which took me just over an hour to conquer the second time around. Sometimes the only thing standing in the way of our success is our emotions.

Stay safe, believe in yourselves and keep fighting.


Brighter side: We all could use a break from bad news right now. So, I’ll be closing my columns with a roundup of positivity until we are able to say goodbye to masks, hug our loved ones, and leave our homes without fear. 

  • Dairy doorstops: The old tradition of milk delivery is making a comeback in Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported. Back in the 1960s, nearly a third of American households had dairy products delivered to their doorsteps. 
  • Tuition break: Connecticut is offering free tuition at community college this fall for eligible high school graduates, the Hartford Courant reported. Students must be a graduate of one of the state’s high schools and a first-time college student to qualify. The application deadline is July 15.
  • Free comic book summer: Fans disappointed by the pandemic cancellation of Free Comic Book Day, held annually on the first Saturday in May, can look forward to free picks all summer. Five to six Free Comic Book Day titles will be sent weekly to retailers between July 15 and Sept. 9 to help with social distancing and store capacity regulations, WFMZ-TV reported.


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.


Annette avatar


This is me to exactly! I am my own private roller coaster.

Athena Merritt avatar

Athena Merritt

Haha, it's nice to know I'm not the only one! Thank you for reading my column. Stay safe!


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