Would I Be the Same Person Without Sarcoidosis?
A columnist's old friend helps reaffirm that life challenges can change our identity
The other day I received a text from an old friend of my wife and me. He needed help editing a video, which is my expertise. He knew I had the software to do what was needed and thought it’d be an easy fix.
During our back-and-forth texts, he told me the project was for one of my high school classmates. I didn’t realize they knew each other. I asked him to have her call me so we could talk about what she needed. We made contact and chatted like we’d seen each other just a few months ago, even though we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in over 10 years.
Our 40th high school reunion is coming up in a few months, and she told me she wasn’t going to attend. She lives in Michigan, and her travel plans weren’t working out.
After we resolved the video issue, we chatted like we were still in school, sharing how our lives had changed now that we’re 50-plus. I told her about my pulmonary sarcoidosis. Like most folks, she wasn’t familiar with the condition, so I explained to her, as best I could, some of the challenges I deal with. I told about both of my lungs collapsing and other challenges I face.
She shared with me some of her health challenges and how she was downsized from her job at age 55 after 33 years with the same company. To add insult to injury, she experienced a devastating house fire that left her rebuilding for the past two years.
Neither one of us was expecting the other’s story, which both were testimonies to how we’ve adjusted to our new lives. Like me, she continues to show up every day and not give up. We laughed about how much we had to deal with at our age.
Without realizing it, this was the conversation I’d needed to have for a long time.
If what happened to you didn’t happen, would you be the same person?
I’d finally talked to someone who understands how a drastic life change can affect a person for the better. After everything that happened in my friend’s life over the past few years, she’s finally taking steps to follow through with her dream.
She’s taking a no-holds-barred approach. She’s done the research, made the calls, and started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. She also admitted that the pandemic forced her to stand up for herself. When she told me her plan, I couldn’t help but feel ecstatic that she thought to include me. To say that I’m excited for her is an understatement. Someone besides me believes in me.
When I was hospitalized and then recuperating at home, I often thought about following through with some of my dreams. I’m sorry to say that I’ve only taken small steps in making them come true. Worrying about the physical challenges of sarcoidosis has caused me fear and made me doubt my abilities, which in turn has made me table some of my ideas. Fortunately, my dreams are still there.
I realize this is how regrets begin. I can’t let that happen to me.
She understood that. “What do I have to lose at this stage of the game?” she asked.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Her attitude was exactly the encouragement I needed to remind myself that I have to keep believing in myself and my dreams. Pursuing them starts by acknowledging the circumstances that challenge us. Both of us lost a lot along our respective journeys, but we haven’t lost the will to continue on our paths.
We may experience obstacles along the way, but as long as we have the will to do better, we will do better. You control the narrative. You control the outcome.
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.
Thank you for your story, your blog is always a great source of inspiration for me.
Well said Charlton. I wouldn't be as healthy as I am today had I not received my diagnosis years ago. As you so aptly stated, "Life happens". How we respond is critically important to our overall quality of life.
All the best,