Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11: A Day To Remember (For Several Reasons)

In a weird coincidence (the fact that it’s September 11), today marks a year since my first “official” doctor’s appointment that got me on the road to being diagnosed with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

One of the things that I have privately struggled with over the last year is what dates to mark on the calendar. When you have a chronic illness (or a few of them), what dates are important to remember (or for that matter, forget)?

I think for chronically ill people, many of us struggle for so long before we receive a diagnosis that there are many steps along the way. For me, that certainly means that a date I won’t ever be able to forget is April 9, 2008, which is the date when I received the most “official” diagnosis (to date).

But obviously, as this post suggests, this crazy slide into chronic illness began long before some doctor pinned a name on my diseases.

I can remember a year ago, venturing into my first appointment with my new doctor (who I no longer go to), realizing that I actually had a reason to be there. Two weeks into grad school and I suddenly was feeling like an 80-year-old… overnight. Of course, I had been trying to ignore the nagging feeling in my joints and muscles that at first was only after I worked out and had quickly become an everyday, all-the-time occurrence.

Do I mark the date when I had that vertigo episode several years ago, the day when I nearly drowned in the shower – an occurrence that so many played off as nothing for so long? I’ll never forget the date of that because it happened on my parent’s anniversary – July 16.

Do I mark the date when I began (January 9, 2008) and ended (August 8, 2008) my first adventure with prednisone?

Or does any of this matter at all? Some days are good, some days are bad, and when you’re chronically ill, it’s important to mark everyday for the steps and missteps that are bound to happen along the way?

This all sends me in a tailspin, just thinking about it. I fear that eventually there will be far to many dates to write down, keep track of, let alone remember. Just writing this post fills me with emotion that I didn’t expect to feel.

It makes me yearn for the world that was September 10, 2007, just as I did when I was a sophomore in high school, thinking that if only the world could go back to September 10, 2001, everything would be fine. That if history could reverse itself by a single day, the events that devastated lives would never have to happen at all. But obviously, that’s not how the world works. I’m no longer jaded by the naïve thinking that I was when I was a sophomore in high school and the “real” September 11 happened.
And I know that I can’t go back to the way things used to be.

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