Why I'm Relieved to Have a Lupus Flare

This morning I woke up with the all-knowing feeling, “I’m going into a flare.”

It’s the first one I’ve had since being in hospital over a month ago, and the last month has been pure bliss. I’ve been able to be a 24 year old and stay up late. I went out on weekends, still having enough energy to clean the house and car in the same day.

But today I woke up and I knew. I was going into a flare.

But this time, I kind of feel relieved. Yes, I know I’m going to be spending 99 percent of my time in bed over the next week or month, and yes, my mouth is currently covered in clusters of tiny ulcers that make me feel like I’ve just eaten razor blades. And yes, my face feels like it’s on fire.

I feel relieved because it’s not all in my head.

Over the past six months I’ve felt sick more often than healthy, but lupus doesn’t always like showing others that it’s there so people become skeptical. Doctors, specialists, work colleagues, and even my family gave me the old, “Maybe you should just ignore it and see if it goes away,” line. When almost everyone around you doubts you, you start to doubt yourself.

I’ve had thoughts such as:

“Maybe it is all in my head.”

“What’s the point in doing the blood work? They always come back clear.”

“Yay. Another doctors appointment where I’m going to have to justify myself to someone who doesn’t believe me.”

“Maybe it is just a cold coming on or something.”

“If you think your sick then you’re going to be sick. Think healthy.”

Today during a conversation with my fiancé I said to him, “Well, it’s not all in my head.” He was shocked that I had doubted myself, reminding me that he has always believed me and that I am the most positive person he knows.

So you know what? This time I’m OK with being sick. I’m OK about going into a flare. I’m OK that I’m currently eating apple puree as a staple in my diet, and I’m OK that I’m going to have to schedule in more naps, because it’s not all in my head. Sometimes you just need a little kick to remind yourself that you are awesome, but you really are sick.

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