Author Archives: Athena Merritt

Remission Doesn’t Always Mean the End of Symptoms

I know playing “what if” is a useless exercise when it comes to sarcoidosis. But during a four-day stint without cellphone coverage or internet access, I found myself doing it anyway.  This disease has many scary aspects, such as cardiac involvement, which I wrote about earlier this month. And…

Victories Are Sweeter When You Have to Work Hard for Them

Many call it “heart attack snow.” It’s heavy. It’s backbreaking. Last week, we went head-to-head. In “Terminator” terms, the snow was the advanced T-3000 cyborg. I was “Pops,” the old T-800 out to prove I wasn’t obsolete. I’m used to sarcoidosis putting me through the wringer emotionally. But fluffy…

Why You Need to Know About Cardiac Sarcoidosis Screening

My physician’s index finger slid across the X-ray, briefly stopping in areas to indicate the foreign presence in my lungs. I had pulmonary sarcoidosis. And for the next 14 years, I would have regular examinations for my pulmonary health without ever knowing that my heart could be at risk,…

Unlike Before, I Now Take the Time to Enjoy Life

Slowing down has always been hard for me. As a kid, I’d squirm out of my mom’s hugs telling her, “I gotta go play.”   While racing along, details often escape me. Which is why I overlooked the initial signs of my sarcoidosis. The pandemic has changed my…

3 Reasons to Find a New Doctor

The more visits I have with a physician, the harder it is to cut ties. Which is why, between breaths behind a face mask, I was relaying my complaint again. It was a loop I had been stuck in since summer. Driving to the appointment that December morning, I hoped…

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of COVID-19 Vaccines

I never liked group projects in school. Whenever one was announced, I’d groan and silently hope for the best. But the scenario always played out the same: slackers dumping the work on everyone else. I wanted to believe the pandemic would change behaviors. With the stakes so high, maybe everyone…