My body rejects itself.
That’s what an autoimmune disease does. The immune system mistakenly destroys healthy tissue, rather than just the invaders, like bad bacteria and lingering viruses.
Autoimmunity pops up suddenly, is often invisible and slowly erodes your body systems.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Autoimmune Disease Research Center explains:
“The healthy human body is equipped with a powerful set of tools for resisting the onslaught of invading microorganisms (such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites). Unfortunately, this set of tools, known as the immune system, sometimes goes awry and attacks the body itself. These misdirected immune responses are referred to as autoimmunity, which can be demonstrated by the presence of autoantibodies or T lymphocytes reactive with host antigens.”
My immune system made a U-turn in 2008 after a brush with Steven Johnson Syndrome, a rare skin disorder that affected my face, mouth, hands and knees.
We all evolve and change.
Autoimmunity is my new normal. There’s no cure. And finally, I’m able to say that’s OK.
This is me now, and I’m learning how to accept my shift in health and daily living thanks to the snowball effect of a dysfunctioning immune system.
My confused body has accumulated a laundry list of autoimmune health conditions that I discuss on this blog, including rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis (an autoimmune form of eczema) and celiac disease.
I also have some side-effects from those conditions including lactose intolerance, mild gastroparesis, and a handful of additional skin conditions.
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This past year I’ve been reading a lot about managing grief. A few months ago I realized that you not only grieve the loss of people and pets, but also the loss of parts of yourself.
I’ve written about all the activities and social experiences I’ve had to forgo due to my health, but now I’m shifting that story. Thanks to lots of inspiration from author Louise Hay and therapeutic yoga sessions, I’m embracing my current life. I’m releasing the past. I’m finding the lessons and benefits of my new normal. Of me. Of now.
Let’s support one another.
I hope you’ll follow along on my journey. I publish a new post on this blog every Tuesday (get it in your email inbox) and also share random insight into my life through updates on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
If you’re facing adverse physical or mental health challenges know that you’re not alone. There is someone else (maybe me?) going through something similar. I hope you read my words and feel comfort and acceptance.
I’m often asked why I share such personal, private details about my health publicly, both here and in my other writing work.
Until next time,