I’ve been really struggling with a bunch of health-related issues recently, things that I can’t control and that can completely wipe me out physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. They just completely rob me of the desire to do even the more joyous things in life.
They are my kryptonite (as one of my specialists once told me) except that unlike Superman who can fly away from his death-bringer I get to carry mine around with me wherever I go. You see, I suffer from a number of auto-immune disorders that can cripple me entirely, the first being Sjögren’s syndrome and the second Sweet’s syndrome.
The former can be ruthless as its very existence is bent on destroying its host. It really is an odd disorder because my body is attempting to break itself apart. The latter is similar and unfortunately can be a part of and/or contribute to some types of cancer, which is pretty much the same thing, a type of self-destruction.
The biggest challenge is that there is no exact cause of the disorders and no cure; lifestyle management and preventative measures and medication can help for comfort and to slow the progress of more rapid decay, but one must simply make due and acquiesce.
You may wonder why I would share this information publicly when many would choose to keep it quiet and out of the public eye; I too shared this perspective for a long time but I came to the realization over the last few weeks, after having been to the ER twice and having a battery of emergency procedures (again) and tests because of yet another flare up and episode, that I have very little to lose by sharing it.
In truth I simply realized that there is no shame in my so-called kryptonite. There is no shame in publicly acknowledging that there are, indeed, a number of things that are wrong and broken in my body, elements that aren’t working as intended and that my body was shipped with obvious defects (but with no refund or return policy possible).
This is who I am and this is who I will be.
What it does give me is the opportunity to explain why I need to rest more than most people (I’m a huge nap advocate for productivity but also for overall health and wellness) and it also can explain why I drive very hard to stay productive and not waste time in frivolity. I have (and you have) but one life to live and our timelines are honestly quite short – we must make the very best of what we have before it’s gone.
It also reminds me to prioritize what matters most, things like my family, my friends, and my faith. It provides fresh perspective on work, my vocation and calling, and what I feel I must do to leave this world in better shape than when I first joined it.
We are all broken in our own unique and oftentimes quiet ways – we realize this more and more as we get older and our bodies suddenly decide that they aren’t interested in functioning like they used to. My transparency here is not to you prescriptive – this is part of my own healing process and one that is helping me to embrace the facts.
I have my kryptonite as I’m sure you have yours. You may not ever really notice mine and I may not ever notice yours but we both know the truth, don’t we?