Keep on Living, and With a Thankful Heart

Charlton Harris avatar

by Charlton Harris |

Share this article:

Share article via email
living with sarcoidosis | Sarcoidosis News | banner image for

“I am thankful to all those who said no. It’s because of them, I did it myself.” — Wayne W. Dyer

Now that we’re approaching the thick of the holiday season, it’s time for us sarcoidosis warriors to be thankful for what we have and what we’ve overcome this past year — or past two years.

This year was the first time we had an opportunity as a family to celebrate Thanksgiving since 2019. And I enjoyed being with my in-laws who have always looked out for my well-being and have been a huge help in my recovery and rehabilitation. I won’t admit that to them, because they’ll say they already knew that, so I’ll allow them to bask in the warmth of their knowledge.

During the holidays, I often reflect on the years I’ve spent living with sarcoidosis. This year, I was hospitalized twice. It seems like every year since 2018 I have spent some time in the hospital — usually for something related to sarcoidosis.

Recommended Reading
living with sarcoidosis | Sarcoidosis News | banner image for

Supportive Friends Can Make a Big Difference When Facing Health Issues

Those who know me may think I appear to have a laissez-faire attitude about my health. The reality is, I’m trying to continue moving forward. If I were to dwell too much on what I’ve been through, I wouldn’t be able to imagine what I can do. The next few weeks are usually emotionally challenging for me. However, I’m not going to allow that challenge this year.

When I was diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoidosis, I didn’t overthink the condition or what kind of long-term effects it would have on my life. I just kept living my life, doing what I needed to do and what I wanted to do, for the most part.

It turns out that was the right approach, according to Tina Scott, a psychotherapist who was recently interviewed on TV about her new book, “Break Up Glue,” which deals primarily with how to move on with life after the end of a relationship.

When I experienced my multiple spontaneous pneumothoraces, those events were my own “breakup” moments. I wasn’t expecting them and my life was reshaped as a result, ending lots of relationships. My relationship with walking every day, my relationship with riding my bike in the park, my relationship with swimming. They broke up my relationship with walking my dog, with working a regular 9-5 job, and my relationship with traveling on public transportation, where I just enjoyed getting the chance to people-watch.

Lucky for me, these breakups turned out to be more like fractures. As with any fracture, the break eventually heals and, while we may not be able to go back to being our old selves 100%, we hold on to what we can and learn to compensate for what has been taken away from us. Broken or fractured, we still get to decide how we want to live. I want to keep living and doing it with a thankful heart. Two words that mean the same to me are “thankful” and “living.”

I can tell you from firsthand experience, one word means nothing without the other.

***

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.

Comments

Paul Varadi avatar

Paul Varadi

Good message, thanks for sharing.

Reply
Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Thanks for reading, and the vote of confidence, Paul!

Reply
Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Thanks for reading, Paul. Please continue to share your thoughts and remember, we're all in this together!
Peace!

Reply
Jacinta avatar

Jacinta

Your comforting story has made me smile. Your so right about being thankful for each new day. Many thanks 🙏✌🏻

Reply
Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Thank you for reading, Jacinta. Sometimes it's hard to smile and be thankful, but when I take a pause to think about all I've been through and where I am now, the "thanks" just keep pouring out of me. Please continue to read, and thank you for your comment!
Peace!

Reply
Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Thanks for your support!

Reply
Susan Owens-Delucchi avatar

Susan Owens-Delucchi

Hi Charlton
Loved your piece! As a someone living with neurosarcoidosis since 2007, your use of the word fracture resonates for me. My life had many challenges long before sarc appeared, but sarc really caused me to distrust my own body and my perceptions of what it was doing to me. I'm learning to care for myself in new ways with this revised reality. I'm reminded of the Japanese art of Kintsugi which repairs broken pottery with lacquer dusted with precious metals (gold, silver,...). The beautifully repaired cracks add to the history of the pottery and aren't meant to be hidden. This disease has surely shaped who I am. And dealing with the associated challenges remains a privilege because I am here. And the "fractures" evident on my brain MRI scans show where my 2007 brain surgery, craniotomy, scar has repaired. And I am still here...
Thank you for the inspirational piece.
Susan

Reply
Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Hi Susan, and thanks for reading.
To be honest, when I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, I really didn't put too much thought into living with a compromising health issue. But that changed when I had my lungs collapse. Today, that "fracture" causes a sense of "fear" in me from being in an open area like a shopping center to going to bed at night. With each experience, I have to remind myself that I'm overthinking things. I can tell you that the more of me doing what I feel is uncomfortable, the more comfortable I become...like how I used to be.
Keep moving forward and remember that fractures eventually heal!
Peace!

Reply

Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.