Confident and Encouraged Despite Health Challenges

Charlton Harris avatar

by Charlton Harris |

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Two of my daily tasks are staying confident and encouraged. Sometimes that’s a challenge.

I joined a few sarcoidosis groups on Facebook, and I’ve read postings about folks who’ve lived with the disease from three to 40 years; I’ve been living with it for about 18 years. As I like to say, every day is a new adventure, and I’m thankful for the journey.

Facebook is the only social media account I have; the other sites are not for me. I only use Facebook because it’s a platform my older and younger family members can navigate to keep in touch with one another, and I’m able to keep up with old friends. At times it’s been a welcome diversion from everyday routines — a diversion, though, not a lifestyle guide.

The sarcoidosis stories there range from happy and cheerful to doom and gloom. It’s up to me to determine which stories reflect my life and how I’m handling this disease. Though I’ve never been one to compare myself to anyone, lately that hasn’t been the case. Therefore, I recently stayed off social media because I felt I needed a break. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to see what folks are doing and remember that I used to be able to do the same things. My life is a little different now.

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I’m glad I decided to take a break. When I looked at my situation, I wasn’t doing myself any favors. I found myself constantly checking my friends’ updates, and suddenly my adventures seemed like they were in competitions. Who needs that added stress in their life? Not me!

I asked myself, “Why am I comparing myself to others?”

Everyone travels a different path. My adventure is not like anyone else’s; it’s personal to me, and very few folks know what’s involved or what I’ve had to endure. It’s in my best interest to stay confident in fighting this ever-changing battle. Easier said than done, I know.

I also need the courage to stay confident. I had a conversation with someone a few weeks ago in which I mentioned how easy it is to do nothing. As an example, I told the story of a childhood friend who always managed to get a job when he wasn’t really trying. This person would quit a job and get another one on his way home — usually, a job paying more than the one he left. I witnessed this several times.

Subsequently, we grew up and grew apart. He became complacent, doing just enough to get by. I believe he lost his courage along the way in dealing with life’s ups and downs. Maybe the fight was too much for him. Last I heard he was still living at home and running errands for his neighbors. The sad thing is he was a really smart person who I believe lost not only his courage, but his confidence.

That’s a scary thought when living with a chronic illness. You have to prepare yourself for the fight ahead of you. It takes confidence, courage, and compassion. It also requires you to be your own coach and cheerleader.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” — Lorenzo (Robert De Niro), “A Bronx Tale”

Every morning before I start my day I try to be encouraged about my new adventure. I have absolutely no idea of what that daily adventure will entail, but by the time I sip my morning cup of tea, I have an idea. My confidence grows as each hour passes.

By lunchtime, I feel like I’m still capable of doing some of the things I used to do. Only now, I do them a little slower. Sometimes my adventure is just a trip to the gym or a medical appointment. Given what we’ve all had to deal with over the past two years, maybe those trips are all I need. At least I did something!

I was taught that saying you can’t do something means you won’t do something. That’s not a negotiable statement with me. You at least have to try; otherwise, you’ve given up on yourself before you’ve even started.

Confidence and encouragement are two of the tools you need to navigate your adventures. Face every day as best you can and live in the moment. Not everyone will get it and be cool with that. Your adventure means more to you than anyone else.

“You have two lives. The second one begins when you realize you only have one.” — Confucius

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.


Laurie Brunelle avatar

Laurie Brunelle

Carlton you’re always so encouraging - think I’ll go to the gym this morning. And great quote as a conclusion by Confucius.

Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Hey Laurie-
I'm glad you made that move! There's nothing better in helping us sarc folks than movement! KEEP MOVING! I hope folks will continue to do so because I'm a witness of how it's helped me. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself-it's better than sitting in front of the television. . . like I used to do. . .


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