Taking Responsibility for Healthy Progress

Charlton Harris avatar

by Charlton Harris |

Share this article:

Share article via email
bad holidays | Sarcoidosis News | banner image for

For the past few days, I’ve been taking an inventory of my life. I guess living with a chronic illness will make you do that.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I guess I was feeling like I needed to take inventory of what I’ve accomplished and what I can accomplish, and how I can make the latter a reality. It’s not an easy task, and I say “task” because if not properly vetted, the effort can become a chore. It’s something no one would think about until it affects them and they witness their lives slowly draining of ambition.

So I’m puttering around the house doing some familiar things that remind me of when life was easier before my first spontaneous pneumothorax, or collapsed lung. To address the elephant in the room, no matter how well I feel, sarcoidosis challenges my thinking, which challenges my abilities. But as we used to say in South Philadelphia, “Don’t fall for the okie-doke!”

In other words, “Don’t sell yourself short!”

Recommended Reading
FSR patient advocate programs | Sarcoidosis News | announcement illustration of woman using megaphone

New Registrational Trial Upcoming for Efzofitimod After Positive FDA Feedback

While taking this inventory, I’ve come across all of the various video projects I started but didn’t finish. I use part of my basement as my makeshift video studio, and in it I saw all of the projects I’d worked on over the years. I also paid close attention to the ones I had started but didn’t finish. This made me quite distressed, especially after putting things into perspective.

It’s been 1,721 days since my first spontaneous pneumothorax and 1,440 days since my second. Once I felt better, I promised myself that I would try to achieve every endeavor I wanted to do. I was focused and determined to do so. But as usual, life got in the way, only this time I also got in my own way, constantly worrying if a pneumothorax was going to happen again.

I prayed and promised that I would make a complete comeback, and so far I’ve only reached half of my mark. All things considered, I should be much further ahead than I am now. I can thank the pandemic for keeping me worried and stagnant for two years.

With that said, I had to reinforce that I have to stay out of my way! I think when we’re living with a chronic illness, we tend to trip ourselves up by second-guessing our abilities based on our health. We tend to worry about tomorrow and not fully enjoy today.

Before and after I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, I believed the world was mine. I was making moves and aspiring as a video producer and editor. In January 2017, my career took a detour, and then on Aug. 11, my whole world changed, thanks in part to pulmonary sarcoidosis.

Over these last four years, I got in my way again, this time by constantly focusing on my condition and not continuing to hone my skills. I started doubting myself, and subsequently, I have a few unfinished projects, not to mention missed opportunities and unkept promises. In that little bit of time, though, I learned a lot about myself, and I again found my appreciation for life.

There is a silver lining.

The first thing I came to grips with is that maybe I’m the problem in this. My abilities to do the things I love haven’t changed one bit. They may have been compromised, but I still have the desire and the skills (most of them) to accomplish my goals. It’s up to me to bring those skills out so everyone who doubted my abilities, even myself, can see that they still exist. No matter how dry the soil is, perennials still come back and bloom, and so will I. Like perennials, I’ll just show you when I’m blooming.

I encourage everyone to take a personal inventory of their lives and dare you to be honest about staying out of your way. I know I have to make a few lifestyle changes myself, but that won’t stand in the way of my progress. We all need a wake-up call. The one thing to remember is we control our thoughts, not the other way around.

Inventory your life, appreciate your skills and abilities, don’t sell yourself short, and stay out of your way. There are too many folks willing to stand in your way of progress. Don’t be the one holding yourself back!

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.


Daniel Cornell avatar

Daniel Cornell

Thanks for sharing Charlton: I think we are supposed to have unfinished projects. As we mature (age), we start to become conscious of our legacy including the unfulfilled promises and dreams we didn’t quite achieve. I often think “who would want my web of ideas, dreams, projects, hobbies, things when I can no longer manage? Answer: hopefully no one! It is,and was, after all, my life.

Sarcoid has been a gift in many ways but I’d still love to have it magically disappear.

Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Hey Daniel, Thanks for reading and your comment, I never thought about things that way! You're right. As I got older coupled with sarcoidosis, I have to remember that my dreams are mine and they were met for me. Thank You for that perspective!

Unkle Woodchuck avatar

Unkle Woodchuck

Once again, Charlton, your insight and eloquence is inspiring. I can only hope that your wise words reach everyone who needs to hear them.

Charlton Harris avatar

Charlton Harris

Thank You Unkle Woodchuck for reading. Often times I have take a step back and remind myself that I need to hear the words too!
Cheers Unk!

Aredha Abu Nawwas avatar

Aredha Abu Nawwas

Hi There,
Would you be kind to tell me, What the best food is to have for this diesis? I am diagnosed with stage two sarcoidosis
it's over five years since my diagnosis.


Leave a comment

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