One of the topics we talked about during my most recent seminar in Cambridge was Guilt - why we feel it, but most importantly, how we can release ourselves from it. I found in my early years with lupus, the more I thought about what was suddenly out of my reach due to my illness (work a full time job, get pregnant whenever I wanted, enjoy a long day at the beach), the more guilty I felt about the limitations the disease put on my life and the responsibilities and expectations I could no longer fulfill. But now I know that I was too focused on what I could no longer do because of lupus, rather than what I could still do, despite lupus.
One of the ladies attending the workshop echoed this sentiment, citing her travel "can-do" list as a perfect example. She admitted that there were things she could no longer do because of lupus - adventures like climbing Mt. Everest or hiking the desert being examples. In addition, she knew there were places she couldn't go because of her disease, countries that required that she get a live vaccine to get into, or that had insufficient health care facilities for emergencies. But after she compiled a list of her "can't do's", she realized there were a heck of a lot of spots where she could go. Her "to visit" list dwarfed her "can't visit" list by miles.
And the same is pretty much true for all aspects of our life with lupus. I've met people who, because of their illness, can't finish school, work full time, bear children, or a dozen other limitations. And those limitations are hard to handle sometimes. But for everything that we can not do, there are a ton of things that we can still do. I propose that we work on beefing up our "can do" list first!