How I’ve continued to pursue my dreams despite sarcoidosis

After coursework related to food, a columnist moves beyond disappointment

Charlton Harris avatar

by Charlton Harris |

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The easiest thing to do in life is nothing.

For whatever reason, that seems to be a safe space for all of us. I used to tell my son this all the time. Every day I try to do something so I don’t get caught in the web of being stagnant, even though living with a chronic health condition — I have pulmonary sarcoidosis — makes motivation and focus challenging.

Nonetheless, I celebrated my 59th birthday a few days ago. I never thought I’d make it this far in the aging process, yet here I am, and my health remains stable.

Eight years ago, however, I experienced one of several spontaneous pneumothoraces, which caused me to be hospitalized for two months. With that much time alone, I was able to think about a lot. For one, I considered what my life would be like after I went home. For another, I wondered how I’d take care of my family and my responsibilities. For still another, I became more focused on my illness and staying as healthy as I could.

But I thought most about being able to do things that bring joy and peace into my life. While initially I felt guilty for not following up on some of my dreams, it never dawned on me that the things that brought joy and peace to my life were the same things as my dreams.

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Don’t Allow Sarcoidosis to Deter Your Dreams

Disappointed in myself

I felt disappointed in myself because I chose not to believe in my abilities. And just like that, I became comfortable not challenging myself or my abilities.

As the years passed, I was able to admit that my mental paralysis had discouraged me. Some would say that I’m still dealing with medical post-traumatic stress disorder. Further, I believed that some folks I’d once trusted didn’t believe in me or my passions. Not following my dreams had become easy; I was doing nothing toward accomplishing them.

It seems that what I told my son for many years was actually true: The easiest thing in the world for anyone to do is nothing. Worrying about my health isn’t going to make my life any easier. If anything, continued worrying could be detrimental. Life goes on, and I have a right to enjoy it.

Over the years, I’ve made a tremendous amount of physical progress. I continue to do so, and those accomplishments have enhanced my dreams — including one to open and run a small food business.

There is hope for all of us

I apparently wasn’t as behind in my accomplishments as I’d thought. I managed to get my food safety manager’s certification and complete a Culinary Rx course. I also started a naturopathy course and master herbalist course that I’ve yet to finish. I’ve applied some of what I’ve learned to my lifestyle, and it’s helped. The hard part is finding the time to dive back into these courses without overthinking my health.

Any of you dealing with health issues, give yourself a break. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall short. Even though I haven’t reached my goal, I hadn’t wasted as much time as I’d thought.

Today, I’m known for cooking and posting photos of my finished dishes on Facebook. Since I started getting my confidence back, several folks have reached out to me about paying for some of my dishes. This attention could be the start of my blossoming food business.

Because I’m starting to believe in myself again, folks are starting to believe in me. I guess the saying is true: True change starts from within.

Charlton: 1, sarcoidosis: 0.

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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


wendy a a schleyer avatar

wendy a a schleyer

Love the encouragement it helps us alot.

Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Thank you, Wendy for reading. We need to keep reminding ourselves that our peace and joy matters!
Take Care!

Unkle Woodchuck avatar

Unkle Woodchuck

Charlton - You continue to amaze, impress and make me even more proud to be your friend. There's a lot I don't know about you but one thing is for sure: you can do anything you put your heart into. Stay strong and keep going. You know where to find me if I can ever be of help.

Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Thank You, Unkle Woodchuck!
Our friendship has definitely my pleasure over the years. Thank you for reading and providing the encouragement I need. I'm trying to stay strong, it's quite the adventure, but I'm hanging.
Thank you for inspiring and encouraging me to continue.

🦋 Kerry Wong avatar

🦋 Kerry Wong

I love this! So glad you've come to believe in yourself again, and congratulations on what you've accomplished so far!

Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Thanks for your support, Kerry!


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