*croons softly* "Dooooooooo you know what todayyyyyy is? It's my Lupiversary! It's my Lupiversary!"
These are the infectious words that I sung to myself this past Monday once I had awakened from my deep slumber. What is a "lupiversary" you ask? Don't worry I'll tell you!
Approximately two years ago on February 6th, 2010 I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; commonly known as Lupus or SLE by my rheumatologist.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the human body. The immune system becomes overactive and develops autoantibodies which attack the bodies own tissues causing inflammation, pain, and damage in multiple areas of the body. There is no known cure. ( Adapted from the LFA )
Since my diagnosis my body would subconsciously began to toss itself into a downward spiral slump of sadness as soon as January approached and I couldn't figure out why. I was talking to my lupie sister Jeannie on the phone when she pointed out that my lupus diagnosis anniversary was approaching and the negative vibe I was feeling was probably my body's natural response to that life-changing moment.
I must admit that I was quite speechless; not only about the fact that my body recognized what was a dark time for me two years ago but also that someone other than myself remembered my diagnosis day! Lupus IS a serious and often complicated disease to live with but I CANNOT ignore the fact that it has indeed brought wonderful people into my life that I would otherwise never have met! Don't underestimate the value, quality, and authenticity of e-relationships. They are beautiful, and I like to think of them as one of the silver linings of living with a chronic illness.
What is a Lupiversary? A Lupiversary is the celebration of LIFE after lupus. It is the evolution process of taking a sad day in our lives and re-creating it into a day of strength, hope, and happiness. It is a lupus patients' way of saying: I am a warrior! It is not a celebration of disease nor does it mean we are "letting our illness define us." It's quite the opposite!
If I were to make a pros and cons list of what lupus has brought to my life; I daresay the pros would far outweigh the cons. Yes, I have days where I can't walk far or eat much. There are times when the pain is overbearing and sleep is an unfulfilled wish. But on those days I am glad to find friends online who can talk me through the pain; who give me advice on what I can try if food is hard to keep down, what OTC medicine to try when prescriptions are unavailable. If I need comfort an e-hug is just as cherished as one in person; especially if it involves glitter and confetti :)
So, next time the anniversary of your lupus diagnosis comes about shake off the sadness by re-creating this day into a remembrance of your strength as a warrior. Remember that you survived 365 days of a NEW year! Think of all the new faces and personalities who have helped you along the way & don't forget that you helped them in return. Forge a new path of happiness into your lupus journey. You're a freaking warrior and gosh darn-it there needs to be some glitter tossing, cake eating, and warrior chest beating going on when your lupiversary comes around!
Here's a little video from my lupiversary tea party to share how I celebrated life after lupus this year!