Once I realized the error of my ways, I started focusing on making better decisions for myself, ones that would prevent my lupus from flaring up. I knew if I was healthier, I’d be more mobile and have more energy. I would enjoy life like I used to. I could spend more quality time with friends, enjoy evenings out with my husband, and be the spunky, happy wife, sister, friend and daughter I once was.
Taking ownership of my life no longer seemed futile. It seemed like I could actually improve my life with lupus, if I just chose to do so. I could actually start living well, despite lupus.
During the next two years, I downshifted almost every aspect of my life. I quit my job and made it my number one priority to get myself back in good health. I canceled vacations, passed on social engagements, and incorporated a 2-hour nap into my daily routine. Some days, the decision to live well seemed just as difficult as the suffering I had already experienced. But in most cases, it proved to be the greatest decision I had ever made.
I learned all I could about the disease. I attempted to understand its patterns and adjust to its needs, making changes and sacrifices along the way. My life was different, for sure. But no doubt, it was better. After all, I was living well. Before, I was merely surviving.
Ever so slowly, the pain, swelling, and fatigue began to subside. My failing organs and deteriorating spirit, both of which I thought were permanent fixtures in my life, started to heal. Hopelessness, despair and anxiety were replaced with confidence, happiness, and serenity. I had been trying so hard to extricate the disease from my life, I had failed to consider the positive effect of incorporating (and accepting) it as part my life’s master plan. I began to see just how good my life with lupus could be. And so can you.