Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SSF Conquering Sjogren's Blog: 10 Lessons From a Great Teacher

I enjoy reading the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation's  blog entitled "Conquering Sjogren's". The most recent post, 10 Lessons From a Great Teacher is written by Alida Brill and it's a gem:
Most of us have memories of a teacher who influenced our lives. I certainly do.  But my greatest teacher has been chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease. Obviously, I use the word great here not as in “wonderful” but as in “of extraordinary importance and weight.” 
A few years ago a young woman approached me after a talk I gave about living with chronic disease for my entire life (well, from twelve forward, so close enough). She wanted to know precisely what I meant when I said: At the end of it all, it really hasn’t been all bad. 
Understandably, she wanted to know what wasn’t all bad about always being unwell.  She had been recently diagnosed with Lupus and saw the life she had known and valued disappearing. She was overwhelmed by the unknown and confused by conflicting medical opinions about treatment options. I said a few things, likely not useful, but her question stuck with me.  Precisely what do I mean when I say that? 
During virtually all of last year I was sidelined from doing almost anything as I went from one autoimmune crisis to the next.  The only thing I could do consistently was to let my mind spin out of control, which often took me to destructive destinations.  That young woman kept appearing in my daydreams.  If I were to offer anything useful to others who live on this planet of chronic illness, I had better come up with something to back up the platitude. At first I thought the deeper meaning was that I pay more attention to the things that count in life, and less to those that don’t.  But many of us do that, whether we’re ill or not.  I spent some time thinking about how to fashion a life of illness into a life of lessons.  Here is how illness itself became a great teacher to me, and the ten lessons I took from it. Continue reading here


Heda said...

Thanks yet again, Julia for another lovely, thought provoking link. 'But solitude can refuel your soul' particularly resonated with me. I can NEVER get enough alone time, on the couch, in my pyjamas, relaxing, no stress, no pressure, no expectations.
I am who am I and my illness is part of that. I accept it totally. I remember years ago when I was first diagnosed with Sjogren's that it made me feel like I didn't know myself any more. Now I wouldn't know myself without it.
Would I choose this life again or no life? Heck yeah, every time!
Would I choose this life for anyone else? What a hard question. This life or a healthy life...that's easy to answer. This life or no life...nowhere near as easy to answer.

Heda said...

Apologies for double dipping but I need to make a correction to my previous post. Not only for myself but also for someone else would I choose a life with sjogren's over no life. I laugh a lot and love a lot. What more could anyone want?

stephanie said...

Alida Brill has hit the nail on the head. This is exactly how I try to live my life, full of gratitude, thankfulness and grace to others. (Of course, I don't always succeed, but who can?) It was so nice to see in print what runs thru my head. It's a better way to live, for everyone, than focusing on the hard times. THANK YOU! XOXO