A lupus moment - letting the tears come (and go) as needed.
Some days with lupus just seem tougher than others: mornings that seem to last a lifetime, hours that never end. Minutes that seem more unbearable with each second that goes by. And instances where you simple can't take it any longer.
Two weeks ago, I had one of those moments.
We were driving home from my doctor's appointment, having received the fabulous news that my swollen lymph nodes were nothing to be alarmed about. Johnny was driving, because for some reason, my prednisone from the night before and the morning of hadn't kicked in yet, and my joints were aching (not agonizing pain, but definitely present.) We'd decided to run two errands on the way home - as if we were making the enjoyment of finding out that I didn't have a tumor, cancer, or lymphoma last as long as possible.
First stop was coffee for Johnny and me, and a muffin for Bernadette. (Dee was in school.) Normally, Johnny would have pulled up to the coffee shop, and I could have jumped out, grabbed the goodies, and hopped back in the car. But there was no hopping anywhere for me today, given my joint pain. So Johnny happily parked, ran in, and returned in no time with our stuff.
Errand number two was to drop off something at the printer for his business. Again, normally he'd pull up to the print shop, I'd hop out, and be back in a flash. But not today. He parked without a second thought, and we watched him run in to drop off the stuff. While Bee and I were waiting in the car, a woman about my age started to cross the street in front of us. Another car was pulling out, so she quickly picked up speed and jogged across the street, in skirt and heels, to the other side. It caught my attention, because her face showed no pain or strain at all. She wasn't wincing, nor struggling in any way. And I thought about how pain-stricken my face would look today if I'd jogged the few steps she'd just traveled. Yesterday, I'd run a mile and a half on the treadmill. Today, taking a few steps would have felt like death.
Johnny returned to the car, and as I sipped my coffee, I found myself not being able to handle it, for even one more moment. I was just sad. I was sad to be in pain. I was sad to not be able to move freely. I was sad about having lupus. And the tears began to well up.
As the tears fell quietly and unbeknownst to my family, I reached out and put my hand on Johnny's. I was immediately reminded of his loving care and gentle touch. I heard Bernadette's sweet little voice in the background, as she serenaded us with "Let it Go" as only a three-year-old can. I thought about the good news of my lymph node biopsy, the promising effects of my cellcept, and the love and support of my family. And just as quickly as the moment of unbearableness had come on, it left. My eyes dried, and feelings of resiliency and strength returned.
I concluded that it's vulnerable, heart-wrenching, tearful instances like these that allow me to realize that life with lupus is going to be okay. That the good moments truly do outweigh the bad. And that the worst ones only make way for the better.