Let me first explain that the title of this post is in no way a reference to a diagnosis of any sort. I was on my travel route and had an interesting encounter. I thought, at first, that maybe I had forgotten something. To my surprise, it was not something I had forgotten, but something I was silently promoting. Someone had called to get my attention. A person at one of the local McDonald’s noticed my button and car sign. (If you recall, I am mobilizing to spread the word that #LUPUS is real.) I had gotten used to a few inquisitive stares at the big words on my button, that a person would have to be right in front of me for me to remember that it was the loud purple LUPUS that was getting all of the attention and not my smile or my friendly presence. (I’d like to think this was a factor in the many cases of when I am approached.)
Well, after reading the words, the person stopped short of breathing and eyes saddened with concern in the center, no doubt. The person asked and stated in the same sentence their familiarity of the word, that I thought maybe their reference had passed from complications. Throughout my recent shouts of lupus, I’ve found that death or extreme debilitation has been presented the most, at least to me thus far, throughout my travels. With a whisper (this was a familiar reaction also), the person stated that a family member was recently diagnosed and was not doing to well. Without asking too many questions or prying into the type and symptoms of this new diagnosis, the person explained that the person was losing weight, sick all the time, and could hardly do any normal or “what I’m used to seeing” this person do activities. The fear in the eyes of this person told me that they loved this person and did not like seeing him or her in “this way.”
I listened patiently. Then the person asked me “who” did “I” know that has lupus. My smile got wider. Thanks to my lupus wrist band, and now thanks to my button, I’ve had a chance to answer this question time and time again. I slowly exclaimed the person I know that has lupus is I! I gently ordered to just have your love one note that they have lupus, lupus doesn’t have them. Yes, it has decided to move in. But, that’s okay, just give it a small dresser in the corner of the room. Fill it with information as you research it for family and friends. Fill it with love letters of highs, notes of lows, and texts of encouragements. Take it to the doctor and make sure it listens well. Fill it with pill bottles of its favorite color and watch it on a consistent basis. The person smiled and looked me up and down. Probably wondering how and that there is no way I could be diagnosed with lupus or know anything about the daily struggle and pain their loved one was going through. I didn’t care about me, all I hope is that if that is what this person was thinking, then this would be a form of encouragement to tell that I am what lupus looks like– in some form or another.
This made me reflect on the mighty butterfly and how fitting it is to be a symbol of #Lupus Awareness. Whether we have lupus or not, we all have metamorphosed into many life experiences that change us for the good or the better. I say better because we can learn something from the butterfly. It used a once lived in habitat to survive. Then metamorphosed into another form that required use of the present habitat and surroundings to thrive. I often need to be reminded, myself, that deciding to look at life in the most positive way possible can put wings to your problems.