With Sarcoidosis, Simple Changes Can Make a Big Difference

How this columnist is breaking out of his false comfort zone

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by Charlton Harris |

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“Don’t let the day get away from you!”

Growing up, I remember my family members saying this to my brother and me regularly. It means that you shouldn’t let the day pass you by without doing something. That something could be anything, as long as it was constructive. It was important to make some sort of contribution every day.

Recently, I’ve been letting the days get away from me. I haven’t been going to the gym regularly, and I’ve been feeling quite comfortable in front of the television. I’ve tried to do a little something here and there, but nothing worthy of preventing the day from getting away from me. I managed to get out a few times, but wasn’t enjoying the adventure.

With sarcoidosis, my mood can change on a dime. It’s easy to get sucked into procrastination. I was becoming a “POET”: someone who Puts Off Everything Today.

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Looking for Positives Is Important While Living With Sarcoidosis

And so, I tried to do better

Living with sarcoidosis requires change — change in attitude, change in environment, change in scenery. Otherwise, you risk getting sucked into a false sense of security.

That’s one of the reasons why I go to the gym and make it a point to venture out. I go shopping, go to the library, and even visit family members, but once I’m home, I’m stuck between four walls and a television. The false comfort zone.

I really needed a change, so I started looking for part-time, remote work. Even though I have some physical limitations, I can still use my skills as a video editor. Something had to change, and I had to find it.

What I wanted to do first was go to the gym and work off the stress, which seemed like a great start. I grabbed my gear, put on my sneakers, and got something to drink. I grabbed my portable oxygen tank and headed to the front door. My feet were hurting so bad that I thought about not going, but I knew that if I didn’t push myself, I’d get trapped in my fake comfort zone.

I went upstairs to get something out of my closet and noticed my other pair of sneakers. I thought, “What the heck? I need a change.” So I put them on and started my journey. I wasn’t ready for what was about to happen.

A simple change transformed my adventure

My feet felt fantastic with my new sneakers. I felt like a new man.

I had been wearing the same pair since 2017, when I had my first spontaneous pneumothorax. At every appointment, hospitalization, and pulmonary function test, I wore those sneakers. They became a part of me. Subconsciously, I was staying within my limitations by wearing them. It was time to retire them and move on.

Later that afternoon, I took my wife shopping and was actually walking around the market without complaining. I felt so much better that I was using a lower flow of oxygen. Talk about a pick-me-up!

Appreciating the little things

I think I found the change I needed — though it wasn’t what I’d expected. Sometimes the answer is hiding in plain sight.

The more I thought about it, the more I started believing in myself again. I know I can overcome the obstacles I’m facing. I have to remember to be patient with myself and to take my time. I wasn’t going to let this day or any other day get away from me. Let the adventure continue. Simple changes can make a big difference.

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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