The First ‘Start’ Is Always the Hardest

Charlton Harris avatar

by Charlton Harris |

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change, acceptance

The hardest part about change is starting. The first “start” is the hardest, whether you’re starting a new job or welcoming a new spouse or child into your world. You realize that if you want something to work out, you have to start somewhere, and you have to be willing to put the work in to make it as comfortable or successful as you imagine it can be.

When you receive a diagnosis of an illness, you don’t know where to begin to mentally process the information. When I was diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoidosis, I took in all of the information my physicians shared with me about the condition. I continue to process what I’ve learned over the years about sarcoidosis, and I try to adjust my lifestyle accordingly. I also realize that I was holding onto some of the unpleasant information I’d been told. I had accepted it as if I had to live a certain way now. I was afraid to let it go and move on with my life. And that’s no way to live.

Change is hard

A few days ago, I sold one of my cars. It sat on my street for over a year. I got another car between hospital stays last year, and my plan was to put a little work into my old car so that my kids could share it. But no one wanted to drive the older car. Everyone wanted to drive the newer one.

The car sat idle except for the few times I had to drag my oxygen tank with me to start it up so the battery wouldn’t die. I still had the idea of getting the money together to get the work done on it so that we would have a second vehicle to use. But that idea kept fading the longer it sat.

One of my neighbors left a note on the car expressing interest in buying it, so I reached out to her and her brother to discuss its condition. I told them that it needed work, and gave them a price. They looked it over, I started it up for them, and the brother checked under the hood, listening for any “off” sounds in the engine. They continued to express interest in purchasing it, and we agreed to discuss details and a price later in the week.

I got the car a year after my diagnosis, and it’s been a mainstay with our family since then. I didn’t realize how attached I was to it. I taught my two kids how to drive in it. We’ve taken countless vacations in it, and it survived my son’s first year of college traveling from Philadelphia to Clarion, Pennsylvania. That car was a member of the family, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to give it up.

The dilemma

For the next four weeks, I played “text tag” between the woman and her brother about purchasing it. At times, it seemed like they weren’t on the same page about the information I shared with each of them. Communicating with them became bothersome, and I began to think I was making a mistake. I became more and more frustrated and finally thought that I would just donate the car.

But first I had to make a decision. Either they were going to buy it or I was going to donate it, but I had to take the first step in making the choice. Because I hadn’t heard from them in a few days, I called a local vehicle donation center and gave them the information about the car. They told me that someone would contact me within 24 to 48 hours to schedule a time to pick it up. I felt a sense of relief that I was making progress.

Then the neighbor sent me a text, followed by another from her brother — they still wanted to buy the car. Again, I had mixed emotions about giving it up, but I had to do something.

Relief in challenges

As uncomfortable as I was during this process, I knew that within a day or two, I would no longer have the car. I had to accept the fact that I needed to move on and let it go. Admittedly, over the past two years, I’ve held onto certain challenges associated with pulmonary sarcoidosis, and this served no purpose other than to keep me mentally paralyzed.

In the end, I sold the car, physically freeing myself from something that was serving me no future purpose, and giving me the mental courage to face the obstacles associated with my sarcoidosis. You have to start somewhere — so, start with courage.


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.


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