Sarcoidosis Can Feel Like a No-win Situation, Even if It Isn’t

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by Calvin Harris |

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When the 2022 NFL schedule was released last month, I noticed an Aug. 27 preseason game between the Washington Commanders and the Baltimore Ravens. While I live in New York (and have adopted a few teams to cheer for), those are the teams from the areas where I grew up.

While preseason games are often considered meaningless since they’re used to prepare for the regular season, this one won’t be meaningless to me. I grew up in the Washington, D.C., area as a big fan of that team. After college, I moved to the Baltimore area and became a fan of that city’s team when the former owner of the Cleveland Browns moved the team to Baltimore and renamed it the Ravens.

The only time I cheer against Baltimore is when they play Washington, and even that cheering is a bit muted. As a result, any game between the two feels like a no-win situation for me. I’ll spend much of the game ignoring the score, hoping that neither team suffers a big injury that would affect the rest of the season. I want both teams to do well, but not so well that there could be fallout for the other.

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With that said, these two teams have been playing these types of preseason games for years now, so I know what I’ll do. I’ll swallow my fear and frustration, accept the reality that I can’t do anything about the situation, and then try to enjoy the game. Something bad might happen, but it’s just as likely that my worries about the game will be overblown.

Living with sarcoidosis feels like a no-win situation, too. Heck, sometimes it is a no-win situation.

We have our ever-changing and unpredictable bodies and our worries about them. Will I be tired today? Will I have pain today? Will my scans come back normal? Will I ever go into remission? We have to stay vigilant to stay as healthy as possible.

We have our never-ending doctor visits — primary care doctor, sarcoidosis specialist, eye doctor who understands sarcoidosis, and more.

We have difficulties even explaining to others how it feels to sometimes be clueless about what is going on with our bodies, despite our deep knowledge of the disease. Despite my 2014 diagnosis, I don’t understand how I’m able to run races as often as I can. The scans say I shouldn’t be able to do it.

Yes, even if you have great insurance, great doctors like mine at the Johns Hopkins Sarcoidosis Clinic, and great support from loved ones, sarcoidosis can feel like a no-win situation. Heaven forbid that you don’t have those resources, privilege, medical expertise, or support systems.

But more often than not, when we force ourselves to take a breath and step back from the situation — even a rare disease — we can sometimes discover that circumstances aren’t as bad as we think and feel they are. Or at least not always. We can hopefully find ways to still be grateful. That doesn’t mean things are perfect, but they just might be more manageable than we think. Even if all we can manage is our attitude about the situation, that just might be enough to take that win.

Sometimes, our attitude is all we have.


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.

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