Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spongey Spirits

WEGO blog prompt day 26: Give you or your condition a spirit animal.

Guys. You're KILLING me here. A spirit animal? For me to write something like this without becoming completely silly is almost impossible. Sigh. OK, ok......

Well, I think that if I had to assign Sjogren's syndrome an animal, it should be a sea sponge, or Poriphera. Here's why: like all animals, sponges depend heavily on water, but like Sjoggie animals, water is especially important:
....most rely on maintaining a constant water flow through their bodies to obtain food and oxygen and to remove wastes, and the shapes of their bodies are adapted to maximize the efficiency of the water flow.
You can read more about sea sponges and see the above image here.

We who have Sjogren's syndrome depend on a constant water flow, too -- especially those of us who are dealing with decreased saliva and tear production. As a matter of fact, I would even say that like sea sponges, our bodies are changed in response to water flow as well. My parotid glands swell and attempt to work harder to produce as much saliva as their compromised cells can. I am planning to adapt the lacrimal punctae in my eyelids by having them cauterized to make my tears remain in my eyes longer and work more efficiently.

Hm. What else....ah, yes. I wouldn't describe a sponge as being particularly mobile or active. It's an easy comparison with sjoggies and autoimmune fatigue.

However - sea sponges are tough little animals. They are able to adapt, to modify, and to evolve their bodies to make the best use of their environment. And I would have to say most of us dealing with autoimmune disease are required to tap into those skills, too.

For us, like a sponge, life without water is beyond difficult. But we don't give up easily. Sjoggies are tough little critters, too.


Anonymous said...

I don't know. I think I prefer the idea of a cat, you know, sleeping 18hours a day. That's Sjoggie in a way too.

Julia Oleinik said...

Oooo, good one Jazzcat!

Kelly said...

I'm late to the party on this one but couldn't resist chiming in when I saw your picture. It reminded me of something I saw while snorkeling that I would elect for a Sjogren's spirit animal: the Octopus.

This is because the Octopus hides in plain sight. You don't notice it until it moves and then it settles and blends in to the environment again so that it looks like something else entirely.

Then there's the many-tentacled metaphor. The different tentacles can wrap themselves around so many different structures in your body and/or aspects of your life, 8 hardly seems enough.