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The 'Little Wins' I Celebrate While Living With Lupus

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During my first six months with lupus, it felt like I took so many losses. My diet, my energy, my face, my body shape – the list just kept growing. I felt like I never got to take anything back. I never got to have a “win.” I put so much energy into focusing on all the major losses that I never noticed that in some places I did gain something back – but it was a “little win.”

I know how Chicken Little felt when he thought the sky was falling, as last year I, too, felt as if my world was crashing down around me. 2016 wasn’t destined to be a year that I would go from strength to strength; in fact, it was the complete opposite. It was a year where I would continue to trip and stumble.

Last year I lost each and every part of myself at one point or another. If I was feeling good physically, wham! Hope you were ready to feel emotionally unstable. Oh, and why don’t we also mess with your anxiety and stress just for the fun of it!

I was never adjusting to just one thing; it was always at least two or three things. There were always so many variables in my life that pinpointing the root cause of anything in particular wasn’t just difficult to decipher on my own, but impossible.

There was a point when I came to the realization that maybe it wasn’t about monumental victories but the little successes – no matter how small. Too often we fixate so hard on the bigger picture that we forget the little things can be just as significant.

Looking back, all those small accomplishments have lead me to where I am right now, standing tall atop my world. But I didn’t get here in leaps and bounds. It was about putting one foot in front of the other, day after day, sometimes moving only one step further than yesterday, if that’s all I could muster that day.

My wins were small and seemingly insignificant to anyone outside of myself. Sometimes it was having a really low-sodium day; other times it was getting home from work to rest for only an hour and not being exhausted beyond repair.

One of my highlights was being taken off one of three high blood pressure medications late last year. A little while later I was off of two, and then last month I finally hit my personal milestone: I was no longer on any medication for my blood pressure!

And I know how insignificant, even silly, that might sound as a milestone. But to me it was huge. It meant that all the nights I spent tear-stained because of lupus, all the days I sweated my guts out at the gym and every meal I had to reengineer to specifically fit my diet all added up to something: a huge and visible improvement in my health.

I still set goals; in fact, I set them every day. I want to be faster, stronger, fitter, a better writer, a more technical fighter, a more critical and analytical thinker — my list is forever growing. But these are the long-term, big picture goals — and that’s not what I’m concentrating on. What I’m pinpointing is that stepping stone – putting one foot in front of me and taking that single step.

Ask yourself: what’s your big picture and where do you want to be? Thinking about that, choose the very first step you would need to take to get there. Not the three-foot jump needed to cross the river in one go, but that small, safe and dry rock right in front of you.

Take that step; it’s yours and we both know you’ve got this.

Maybe it’s tiny, unmemorable and seemingly insignificant in the long run, but nobody thinks of that grain of sand’s first movement on its journey to become a pearl. Even though in the grand scheme of things, that is the sand’s first “little win.”

This post originally appeared in Kristiana Page’s column “The Girl Who Cried Wolf” on Lupus News Today.

Thinkstock photo via Dirima.

Originally published: April 21, 2017
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