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Living a Life Worth Fighting For as Someone With a Chronic Illness

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You would be surprised how many times I tell the story of my tumultuous diagnosis. Don’t misunderstand me: Lupus is a killer. If left undiagnosed, it can be a death sentence. But that couldn’t be further from my truth.

My response is always the same, “I pulled up my socks, held my head high, forced a smile and went on with my life.”

There were no other options. I decided early on that the only option was to fight back because there are endless things in my life that are worth fighting for.

The “chronic” part of chronic illness means I will bear the burden of lupus for the rest of my life. I was handed a life sentence at 20 years old. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t deserve it. But unfortunately, life isn’t always fair. I could waste my life wondering why bad things happen to good people but it won’t bring my health back. And it won’t stop lupus from happening to someone else.

I’ve met five other people under the age of 25 with a chronic illness like mine. None of them deserved the complications of invisible illness. But they’re all doing the same thing I am: Pushing the boundaries in every possible way, laughing in the face of adversity and reclaiming their lives from their chronic demons day after day.

We all made the decision at one point or another that human existence, no matter how terrible the circumstances at times, is worth fighting for.

If today is a bad day, as some days unfortunately are, I’m glad you’re reading this. It can be hard to remember why you started fighting. But I hope this serves as a reminder: You started fighting for a reason. Whether that reason was family, the love of your life, kids, ambition, yourself or something else entirely, you decided something in this universe was worth fighting for. So take the day. Take two. Take the week if you need to. But never let yourself forget why you started and why you need to keep going.

Fight even if you don’t have the energy. Fight, especially when it brings you to tears. Fight for moments with your loved ones and for moments you’ll remember when the world goes quiet. Fight for yourself, fight for the person you could’ve been and fight for those who can’t. I hope you leave this world one day with a montage of all the times you said “Yes” when the answer could have been “No.”

I hope you’re proud when you remember that when life dealt you some of the worst cards the deck had to offer, you played anyway. When the time comes for you to meet your maker, I hope you look back with happiness in your heart, knowing that every up and down, every moment of the battle, was worth fighting for.

A version of this story was previously published at Lupus News Today.

Getty Images: Victor_Tongdee

Originally published: October 24, 2019
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