The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.
Born from my splash into alternative medicine shortly before my diagnosis, the rash of remedies suggested to me by well-meaning acquaintances after my diagnosis and -- of course -- my lifelong quest for self gratification, I began looking for benefits to chronic illness quickly after receiving the news.
Maybe since lupus was to blame for a lot of bad stuff in my life I could also use it to my advantage sometimes. And that was the beginning of my plan.
Already I was swigging a concoction of herbs each morning and had listened to all kinds of unscientifically-proven treatments. I felt willing to try anything. So why not try anything? And see how it would affect the lupus.
Maybe my lupus symptoms would disappear on a beach in Mexico. Worth a shot. (Still haven't tried this one, but plan to and also have learned that one must be patient through long trials to reach the full effectiveness of some treatments.)
The stars aligned one week when I ate out several times at some of my all-time favorite restaurants. I also felt really good that week. Coincidence? I prefer to call it restaurant therapy. And rank it as highly effective.
Might lupus symptoms rise and fall based on potato chip or dark chocolate consumption? Only one way to find out. Could Coke alleviate symptoms? I'm not willing to say no yet.
And then: Might excessive dish washing cause a flare? Maybe. I've decided not to risk it. Or too much house cleaning? Better safe than sorry, I say.
That time I embarrassed myself. The lupus was affecting my cognition, my balance, my whatever it was, I'm sure. Did I just make a mistake? It wasn't me, it was the lupus.
Whether it is buying (or eating) something, engaging in or avoiding an activity, or explaining some shortcoming or discrepancy -- my new ace in the hole is simply on account of the lupus.
I played the lupus card to get A LOT of wonderful help moving (though I'm sure our sweet friends would have helped anyway). Lupus got me out of months of laundry and other chores. Really, I haven't found the bounds yet for exploiting this disease.
But, I plan to test those limits to their full extent in the months and years ahead. I always hear people saying to look on the bright side, to take the good with the bad... that's just what I'm doing. Making lemonade.
This post is part of a series on how lupus has affected me.
Click on the links below to read more:
Part 1: Introduction, The horrific mystery disease
Part 2: The bad times
Part 3: How lupus made me a better wife
Part 4: A practice of patience
Part 5: More on the pit
Part 6: Exhaustion
Part 7: Saying no
Part 8: Taming fear and anxiety
My herbalist and the treatment option I am choosing right now
My recent lifestyle changes
To learn more about lupus, you may visit the Lupus Foundation of America.