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3 Ways My Lupus Diagnosis Has Blessed Me

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The summer between my junior and senior year of high school I went to the beach and was stung by a jellyfish. Everything changed for me after that. I was hospitalized due to a serious allergic reaction and told I’m not only deathly allergic to jellyfish, but also allergic to the sun. I had some tests run in the hospital but it wasn’t until nine months later when my doctor diagnosed me with lupus. I remember first hearing the word while lying in the hospital bed and waiting for the test results. It was a scary moment and one I’m not likely to forget.

Those first few months after diagnosis I was in such a horrible place, as I found out, just 24 hours before diagnosis, that I couldn’t graduate and my world stopped spinning. Suddenly I started living more for the moment, just trying to get through one moment at a time. It’s hard though, when you are at the age of planning for the future and you can’t do that because of your trials. However hard life has been though, I truly believe this diagnosis was a blessing in my life. It’s what opened the floodgates to the myriad of diagnoses that now adorn my life. So here are three things that have lead to gratitude for lupus.

1. My lupus family showed me I am lovable. They showed me I’m worth fighting for, and I am not alone. We may not fully understand each other and our journeys, and we may live thousands of miles apart from each other, but in the end, they bless my life. They bring me so much joy and happiness that I just can’t imagine life without them. This diagnosis knocked me down, but they pick me up every day, and make me want to sing and shout and dance for joy.

2. It has led to the unraveling and diagnosis of a genetic disorder. As inconceivable as this may seem, the lupus diagnosis I received just one month short of high school graduation led to a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. This is a diagnosis I would have spent many more years, quite possibly even decades, searching for. It’s one I had never heard of before diagnosis, but it makes sense now. As hard as things have been the last few years, I would not trade this diagnosis for anything.

3. Finally, I think this diagnosis has taught me I am stronger than I feel. Those first few months I cried a ton. Almost every night after everyone else was in bed I would stay up and just cry. I would think of my great grandmother who also lived with lupus and wondered what she would say to me. Over time, I started to feel strength within me to keep going. It came from all around me, and maybe even a bit inside of me as well. Lupus knocked me down and even kicked me a little at first. It was mornings of climbing out of bed only to fall to the floor exhausted and weak. It was the brain fog moments, being told many times, “You don’t look sick.” It was the harsh comments, the judgments from others, the applying for disability and being judged. Then, it taught me to stand back up and fight because life is beautiful.

I will forever be grateful for the friends who came into my life because of this illness and turned it upside down. You guys have not only been there for me through the ups and downs of life with lupus, but through the ups and downs of life in general. You stayed by my side, and fought for me when I was diagnosed with bipolar, and when I planned my suicide and was hospitalized you stood by me, you even stood by me as I was working through the pain of abuse. You just love me for me. Thank you. You have to know that in my darkest of days you make this life worth fighting for and living. Because of lupus, I never question whether I am loved or needed in this life. This diagnosis just adds another beautiful color to my butterfly wings.

Photo via max-kegfire on Getty Images

Originally published: January 17, 2018
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