Today we celebrate World Lupus Day. Giving this deeper thought, I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with this word choice. Why? The word ‘celebrate’ connotes a party, or in some other way are happy for this day.
Are we really happy that this disease has destroyed or ruined so many lives, leaving destruction and unnecessary suffering in it’s wake? The Lupus Foundation of America tells us that at least 5 million people worldwide are diagnosed with lupus, 1 1/2 of them American. Other statistics are that lupus affects more women than men, but this disease is not confined to women. Men can develop the disease, too. Other statistics abound, but they can be easily researched.
My objection also surrounds the fact that lupus has made strangers of many of our friends, loved ones, family members. To those of you without lupus, I ask you to think back just a minute. How many of you can say without exclusion that you have never minimized or ignored your family member’s or loved one’s lupus, by saying ‘she’s lazy?’ or “But, you don’t look sick!
Many lupus patients suffer needless lives of isolation because they refuse to be minimized, so strong personalities prevail and the ‘lupus’ patient ends up saying some very hurtful things to their loved ones. This, unfortunately ‘cuts both ways’ as both are to blame in this lack of understanding.
As we move forward into a new ‘season of lupus,’ let us all agree that we need to practice increased tolerance. Understanding of the disease; UNDERSTANDING of people who don’t have the disease.