Standing there alone, it looks like an ordinary number.
More specifically, it is defined as an even natural number that falls between the numbers 9 and 11.
It means a little more to me than a mere natural number.
And I have been pondering it, this number 10. Pontificating for the past couple of weeks, this number, this interesting number...
It makes me shed a tear. It makes me breathe a sigh of relief. It makes me give thanks.
This number 10 means much to me.
Actually, I've been thinking about it all year.
But I've been thinking about it much more for the past few weeks.
For 10 years ago, back in 2002, I was diagnosed with lupus.
And 10 years later...
Here I stand.
10 years ago this time I was in the hospital, receiving IV and blood transfusions, barely able to move. It was something else.
I had never talked about it here on blog. I would never want anyone, not even myself, to think I use it as a crutch or an excuse. Why, even to this day, I work while I'm not feeling particularly well. Not a great thing, but if I can move, I can work. I'm slow, but I can do it.
But two or three years ago, I'd mentioned in a blog post being a woman living with a chronic illness. It was in a list of statements I wrote about myself, and I let readers pick which ones they wanted me to blog about. I remember hesitating before even typing it, as I don't care to talk much about this thing, this "chronic illness". But it is a major part of life, a part of who I am.
As luck would have it, Southern Black Gal raised her hand and picked that one. She wanted to hear more about it.
That doggone Southern Black Gal. Humph.
It was good to write about it, though. Just to come out and talk about it was cathartic. That was a good blog post. (Click here to read "Who are You? A Woman living with the Chronick")
So thanks, Southern Black Gal.
And 10 years later, it is intriguing to remember. Like I've said, I've been reminiscing for a little while about it.
I know back then, I didn't know what my life would be like going forward. I knew I wanted to be self sufficient. It was difficult learning how to walk again. My biggest milestone was waiting for my brother, who was 13 at the time, to get home from school and for him to let me hang on to his shirttail with my fingers and walk very very slowly behind him a tenth of a mile up the street to the stop sign...
Then walk back.
THAT meant I was doing good. Real good.
And then, some months later, to be able to eventually walk 3 miles at a good pace?
That was progress. It meant something.
I think about these things when the petty things of life bother me, like they are now. Up against this, virtually most anything is petty. This past week, I've been thinking about a time when I was laying in a hospital bed, with plastic lines of some unknown person's blood snaking into my arms.
Everything is petty when compared to that.
Over the years, it has given me pause. I can't do as much as the next person. I know my limits. If i do too much, it will wear me out and I will have to rest for a couple of days. I find it beneficial to eat right. The more vegetables and fruit I eat, the better I feel. I've been able to knock the severity of my symptoms down by 90% with that. On the scale ranging from light to severe, with moderate being the midpoint, my numbers lean closer to the light side. (That's a good thing to see on my bloodwork). Of course I'm still on meds. I need them, even though they are low dosage. I can deal with that. I don't have the luxury to turn my nose up at medicine. 50 years ago they probably didn't have these meds available. So for now, i will deal with it.
My worst issue, which aggravates my lupus, is stress. I feel my best when I'm not at work. That is all I'm going to say about that.
Another issue... I don't have much hair. It grows slow and does strange things. And that is fine. Things could be worst. Hair is just that: hair.
I think about the lupus before I do something major, like when I was considering buying a house. I have to think about it. I will always ponder what I would have to do if I couldn't take care of myself in the future. And I just have to decide to step over the fears and question marks and do the things I want to do anyway.. do it in the midst of it all... almost in an act of defiance, as if to say...
You will not control my life.
I will live and enjoy life and all that goes along with it.
I will concern myself with dire things if and when dire things ever get a notion to present themselves.
Yes I will.
But as for now? I think of the number 10.
10 years later.
I'm still here.
Here I stand.
I have had joys and disappointments, highs and lows, great achievements, trial, tribulations, laughter and tears. I've had it all...
And I will have plenty plenty more.
In the years to come.
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