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Our house has the sickness. The end of winter, Spring hasn’t quite sprung and all the germs are having a party kind of sickness. In the past 10 days, there have been 3 doctor’s visits, just as many phone calls and numerous trips to the pharmacy. YUCK.

I know we just need to be patient and let it all run it’s course. It’s not that abnormal really and I’m sure many of you have had the sickness this year as well. According to my Facebook friends, it’s in everyone’s house!

So, it’s normal. But a few days before this 10 day stretch of sick, I started to be a different kind of patient (again). It’s so weird. Being a normal patient like everyone else is on those random days through the year. It’s normal. And then, you’re not.

All of a sudden I’m a ‘real’ patient. You know the kind that has a chronic illness and doesn’t just stop in for random visits with the doctor. The kind they find treatments for. It’s such a mind shift. And yet, I don’t think it has to be.

Really, I’ve been this kind of patient for over 12 years. When I was 18, I started having crazy pain in my legs to the point where nothing would relieve the pain and I couldn’t walk at one point. Enter in lab draws and doctor’s appointments and I learned that more than likely I had Lupus. (Do you capitalize that?)

Lupus is an auto-immune disease that’s pretty hard to definitively diagnose. But, I fit symptoms and it runs in my family so it’s more than likely that’s what it was. There are so many degrees of how Lupus can affect your body from mild to death. Let’s just say at 18, I wasn’t ready to hear about the range. (What really bothered me at 18 was the idea that some people are recommended not to have babies and I just couldn’t think about that kind of option at that age.)

I left the (very nice) doctor’s office and never went back. I was not going to deal with something that seemed so big at such a young age. (Yet there are SO many people who deal with things MUCH greater head on at even younger ages!) Now that I’m ‘grown’ and done having babies, I decided to listen to my body and realize that the symptoms were returning. Pretty strongly.

So here I am now. Having had more lab work and having tried some meds that worked. (My doctor said, “I’m going to give you this medicine and I think it’s going to make you feel normal. I’m pretty sure you haven’t feel normal for 12 years.” I thought he had to be exaggerating, but believe me when I say, I felt better than my normal for the first time in I don’t know how long. “Normal” is amazing.) I’m a patient.

But really, I’m still just me. The fact that I’ve been able to be me for the past 12 years tells me that nothing much will change in the next 12 years. I’m going to continue to be patient and not focus on being a patient too much.

Have you had any identity/reality shifts in life? How did you process them and what did you decide to do as you moved forward?