Thankfully, I Am Not Alone on This Journey

Thankfully, I Am Not Alone on This Journey
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This week, my wife and I will be celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary. As only a wife can document such an occasion, we’ve been together for 35 years total.

Our son asked me how it feels. I told him I’ll let him know when the governor commutes my sentence, but until that happens, it feels like a lifetime. When I look back and think about it, it has been an enjoyable lifetime of fun and laughter.

We went to high school together and didn’t care for each other until our senior year. It all started when I accidentally stepped on her shoe and it came off her foot. That was the beginning of her disliking me, but something warmed up during our senior year, when we became more cordial toward each other.

We became so cool that she almost got me suspended for leaving school grounds while walking her to the store. Good thing the vice principal and my mother had a sense of humor and agreed I was a knucklehead for following her — look where it got me!

We lost touch after high school and ran into each other at a nightclub, where we danced all evening and got caught up on what we were doing after high school. We exchanged phone numbers and kept in touch as friends. We’d occasionally meet for lunch and would hang out some Friday nights and just enjoy each other’s company. To be honest, I don’t remember when we became a couple — we just did.

I didn’t see that coming

Fast-forward a few years after college, and we both had started working in our careers. I worked in Washington, D.C., and she remained in Philadelphia. When I returned to Philly, we welcomed our son, and the next thing I remember, we were buying a house. A year after that, we got married. Talk about an adventure!

I believe it was 2003 when I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis by accident, while meeting with a doctor about sleep apnea. Apparently, one has something to do with the other. The conversation started when he saw some scars on my legs. He said that more than likely they came from sarcoidosis, so I agreed to do a bronchoscopy of my lungs. The test and CT scans confirmed the doctor’s theory.

After finding out, I shared the news with my wife, and neither of us paused to think about how this could affect us in the future. For the better part of 10 years, we were enjoying our lives with our family and the addition of my daughter. I didn’t yet have serious problems with sarcoidosis. I often would forget I had it except when I was scheduled for pulmonary function tests.

Always an adventure

The summers of 2017 and 2018 changed my life. During those years, I suffered multiple spontaneous pneumothoraces and was hospitalized several times. I often think about the events of those summers and sometimes I become overwhelmed. Not because of my physical condition, but by how much my wife means to me.

In light of my physical limitations compared with how I used to be, she still stands tall with me. Sometimes I grow frustrated with myself because of my limitations, but she keeps everything under control like I used to. I guess watching me over the years has taught her a lot.

Sometimes when I’m feeling down on myself, she’ll make fun of me and my self-induced pity party. She’ll crack a few jokes at my expense, which will get both of us laughing up a storm, and the adventure will continue.

I’ve amassed a lot of friends over the years, but when you have someone willing to stand with you when you feel you can’t stand alone, you have something money can’t buy. Chronic health conditions can cause you to lose your job, friends, and money, but if you have one person who’s willing to stand with you, none of the other stuff matters.

I guess the saving grace for my wife and me is that we were friends before we became a couple. Our humor, our adventures, the laughter with family, and our memories keep us going. I wish everyone could have the gift of someone special like I do. You’ll start your day thankful and end it with a smile.

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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 multimedia/video producer and video editor located in the Philadelphia, PA area. He has worked over a combined 30 plus years in advertising, legal education, and as an independent creative services provider. When he’s not creating at his desk or behind his camera, he’s in the kitchen cooking and is also known as a serious homebrewer. He recently completed the Culinary RX Certification program from Rouxbe Online Culinary School specializing in plant-based nutrition, and he has his food protection certification. With 2 professional bbq smoker’s in his yard, Charlton is also known as a skilled pit-master. He’s also appreciated as a jazz aficionado.
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Charlton is an independent multimedia/video producer and video editor located in the Philadelphia, PA area. He has worked over a combined 30 plus years in advertising, legal education, and as an independent creative services provider. When he’s not creating at his desk or behind his camera, he’s in the kitchen cooking and is also known as a serious homebrewer. He recently completed the Culinary RX Certification program from Rouxbe Online Culinary School specializing in plant-based nutrition, and he has his food protection certification. With 2 professional bbq smoker’s in his yard, Charlton is also known as a skilled pit-master. He’s also appreciated as a jazz aficionado.
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