Last year, I reached out to a former colleague to get suggestions and recommendations on how she manages the many symptoms of lupus. In my case, I had been diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) which had progressed to the life-threatening acute type (acute myeloid leukemia), and had to have a stem-cell transplant. It was the only cure. Over a period of time following the transplant, I developed many, many side effects similar to the autoimmune effects of lupus. These side effects are known as graft vs. host disease and can damage every organ in the body. The main goal in treating graft vs. host disease is to prevent further damage with medication and other therapies such as physical therapy. So, following your healthcare team’s instructions is critical. Many times it felt like 1 step forward, 2 steps back. And more recently, 1 step forward, 5 steps back. But, there is a silver lining to graft vs. host disease…it burns itself out in 3-5 years.
Back to my colleague who has lupus. She said to me,
“EVERYONE is going through something.”
Translated…no matter how bad it gets, remember everyone is fighting their own battles, whether it’s health, work, family, marital or spiritual. Remembering this always helps me put things in perspective, and grateful that it’s not worse.