Since I was diagnosed with lupus six years ago, there hasn’t been a moment when I am not aware of my how sick I am. Being chronically ill has become a part of who I am. A big part.
I wear many hats throughout the day, that of a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a woman. But no matter what hat I’m wearing, I seem to always be wearing the chronically ill hat. I can’t seem to take it off. It’s always there, the pain, the fatigue, and the sickness.
So sometimes when I read messages like:
“I am not lupus.”
“I am stronger than lupus”
“I have lupus but lupus doesn’t have me.”
I have to simply disagree. I understand that these are messages of encouragement and empowerment but to me, it doesn’t ring true.
I do feel like I am lupus, yes, albeit many other things. I am not ONLY lupus but it is a big part of who I am everyday. Lupus has taken over parts of my identity, and I am no longer a lawyer, I am not a fully engaged mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend or self. I cannot do or be anything without having my chronic illness affect it.
I never feel like I am stronger than lupus. Most days, I feel like it has me beat. Everyday feels like a big battle just to live the semblance of a life I have cobbled together, in the wake of my big flares ,that left me severely sick and limited.
And I definitely feel like lupus has a strong hold over me, my life and those close to me. Its grip is strong and its demands relentless.
I fight hard against my illnesses but unfortunately, they are just a part of who I am now.