Tuesday, December 6, 2011

But You Don't Look Sick

In case you didn't know that's the tag for lupus, an autoimmune disease. And it's true the outside doesn't always reflect what's inside. I live with pain. My joints feel like they're wrapped in tape and I'm trying to bend them but nothing moves. And to add to that, each joint is swollen. My hands can barely hold a pen as for shaking hands that's like being put on the rack. Besides I don't you'd want to shake hands with me since my hands (and feet) are always icicles so I wear gloves in July. My muscles are sore as if I ran the New York Marathon as well as feeling bruise and battered like I fought in an ultimate cage match.  My legs can rarely hold me upright for very long. I get dizzy spells and near faints.  I'm forgetful and when I finally fall asleep, I'm not reaching a REM state. I wake up and it takes me an hour to be able to get out of bed. When I shower, I need about a half and hour to recover from that. 

Even though I deal with these and many more issues, I sometimes even believe that I don't look sick. I swear that the doctors must be wrong, gotten me confused with someone else. I'm young. I can do all the things that I've always done.  THEN I try to pick up something but my body revolts. I add too much to the plate and have to cut back. Or I have a doctor's appointment and my body needs a couple of days to recover for their poking and prodding and if they took blood, oh Lord, I can't use my left arm for two days. 

But then I look at the mirror and I swear I don't look sick. But my body always reminds me. The worst is not my illness, building a new life or establishing new limitations. The worst is remembering what I was able to do.  Being able to walk around the city, to dance or spend a few hours with friends doing anything as long as it was out and about. Being about to hold a hardcover book without the throbbing of my hands and my wrists feeling out of joint, stiff and if I bent them they just might shatter.

So, my body has revolted against itself and I've been ousted as President. But hey, I don't look sick.

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