I was recently diagnosed with an auto immune issue. (I don’t allow myself to call it a disease). It’s not that I don’t want to face reality. The sores in my mouth and throat do not allow me that luxury. But I know how our beliefs can dictate how we feel and manifest problems if that’s what we focus on. (Example: I remember hearing a story about a doctor that used to work with Deepak Chopra, who died of cancer. Feeling healthy, he had a routine x-ray where they found a spot on his lung, and within a matter of months he was gone. Later, as Dr. Chopra helped clean out his office, he found another x-ray that had been taken 20 years prior. It showed the same spot. It had not changed in size or shape. Apparently it had been overlooked the first time, and not knowing it was there, the doctor had no health problems – until they found the spot the second time. Once he believed he had cancer, he got sick).
When I first noticed the sensitivity in my mouth, I came up with several theories about what was going on. I have always been heavily invested in being healthy. I wasn’t supposed to get sick. I work out, eat right most of the time, meditate and know how to monitor my thoughts to adjust my mood and belief system. I manage to stay positive most of the time. I don’t know another 64 year old who is as healthy.
The process prior to the diagnosis was an emotional roller coaster. I stayed in denial for much longer than I like to admit. But when some of the docs I saw thought it was cancer, it brought me back to reality. On one hand, it didn’t make sense – I was too healthy. But who says I’m any different or better than anyone else? I’m only human. Part of the human condition is vulnerability.
I usually don’t let myself worry about something until I know there’s something to worry about. But I knew whatever was going on in my mouth was not getting better, regardless of what I did. It’s difficult to not let yourself get frightened.
I don’t want to sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’m not the first or only person to go through an experience like this. I’ve had clients, friends & family members who have gone through much worse. Many have survived it all. I am inspired by their courage. I study their strength, humor and sheer courage.
And I don’t mean for this to be just a blog about me. The point I’m trying to get across is that we all become more compassionate when we’ve been there. None of us will escape pain in this life. We’re not meant to. We don’t come here just for the joys – but to experience the pain and to learn the lessons it teaches us. It’s not lost on me that I came very close to an even scarier place. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to deal with cancer.
Not that the autoimmune thing is a piece of cake! It’s an ongoing struggle that I’m taking a day at a time. They don’t know what causes it, but I’ve learned what foods exacerbate it – almost everything! Some make the sores pop up and others just plain hurt to eat. So far, I’m slowly getting better through the holistic route. I haven’t ruled out medication, but until I’ve tried everything else – or what I’m doing is no longer working, I’ll stay on this path.
The point of this blog, though, is that If I believed this was the worst thing that ever happened to me, it would be. But if I can see it for what it is – a wake-up call that I need to adjust my life so I can appreciate and live it to the fullest, it might just be one of the best things that has happened to me!
For today, I am grateful for the opportunity for growth. This is another chance to see if the conclusions I’ve come to in my spiritual exploration are true for me. And to see if I have the courage and conviction to allow myself to be led in the direction that will advance my spirit.
I believe that’s why we come to this life. It doesn’t happen when everything goes the way I want it to or think it should. We all learn the best lessons by facing and accepting the crappy stuff. We gain strength by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and by moving through pain.
What I say to myself and to others feed my belief about my current life situaion. Those beliefs can limit my life to the point where I isolate and withdraw – or they can liberate me to live it as fully as possible!