Lupus takes Courage: Examples of Chronic Illness Courage to keep you inspired and motivated!

This is a post from 2014 that I thought I'd update with a couple of new examples and repost. It's never a bad time to share courageous stories of inspiration, right? 


I've said for years that it takes courage to live with lupus. It takes courage to wake up each morning and put one painful foot in front of the other. It takes courage to stare those medications in the face each day, to put on a happy face at work, and to crawl into bed each night, knowing tomorrow might bring something even more painful than it did today.

And yet, this realization didn't come from my own experience with lupus. Rather, it came from the thousands of interactions I've had with lupus patients from around the world. Only through their personal stories of determination and triumph did I come to realize just how much courage it takes to deal with a chronic illness. 

Here are just a few examples of friends who have shared with me snippets of their challenges with their own chronic illnesses. It is these stories that inspired this post:

*One of my friends just opted to start using a wheelchair to facilitate her ability to get out and about, after years of struggling with declining energy levels, fatigue, and overall weakness due to her chronic illness. In one fellow swoop, I say she's taken one giant, positive, productive step toward making herself mobile again. Have that, you nasty, debilitating chronic illness!

 *A friend of mine has Stage 4 cancer, and she's not sure how it's going to play out. I suppose no one does, but I love the way she's asserting herself against the unknown in one small, but courageous way. She's asked friends, family, and others with whom she's crossed paths to write letters, sharing stories and memories of her that can be enjoyed now, and cherished by her family, especially her daughters, in the future.

*Another friend, overwhelmed by fatigue, headaches, chest pain, and a handful of other paralyzing symptoms while traveling, canceled her flight home at the last minute, knowing she was incapable of making the trip on her own with her baby in tow. Instead, she asked for help - reaching out to her husband to drive her and their son the four-hour trip home, knowing her husband would have to turn right around and drive back for work commitments. She knew she couldn't do it any other way...and the courage it takes to make such an assessment is huge. What an example of knowing your limits (even when you didn't know you had any!), and making a good, solid decision.

 *Another friend has been working with a naturopathic doctor to address a host of symptoms she's experienced for some time. She was making little progress, and it wasn't coming as quickly or dramatically as she'd hoped. Taking matters into her own hands, she decided to seek a second opinion and consult a conventional medicine doctor as well. Now, she's benefiting from the wisdom of both doctors because she had the courage to speak up. If you've ever had to get a second opinion, you know how much courage (and energy) it takes to make that happen: approaching your current doctor, explaining your desire to get another opinion, researching to find a second doctor, and making time to fit in yet another medical appointment.

*Another girlfriend, after being prescribed more than a dozen medications, marched into her doctor's office, asserted herself as never before, and said something like, "I'm no longer comfortable being on all of the medications you've prescribed. What can we do about it?" Oh, yeah - taking charge and feeling better. That's how it gets done. If we don't speak up when we feel something's out of line, who will?

*Last example: a friend of mine has been suffering with symptoms for years. She's finally decided that in addition to treating her physical health, she needs to start addressing her mental well-being, too. The physical effects have taken an emotional toll that she feels deserves attention, so she's going to see a therapist. Self-awareness takes courage - I'm sure we'd all agree with that!  

Of course, I'm sure none of my friends see the monumental courage it took to make the choices they did, and yet these are perfect illustrations of the kind of courage, strength, and self-awareness one must possess in order to carry on, despite an illness.

And as these examples demonstrate, it can be the choices that are put before us on an every day basis that require the most courage. Daily excursions, caring for our children, managing our doctors, and daily pill administration - these are issues we deal with day in and day out.  And when the day comes when we say "enough is enough", that is a courageous day indeed.

Let these ladies' stories be inspiration to you as they have been to me, prompting us to muster up the courage to make our own positive changes, despite our illness.


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