Lean too far off the sofa and you'll fall to the hard floor below.
Eat too many sweets and suffer stomach aches or cavities.
Touch a hot stove and you get burned.
Run into a busy street....well...you know.
It's human nature to look for the cause and effect- the answer to problems and the "why" to the what happened.
In diseases like diabetes, liver disease and cancer, there may definitely be links to why someone develped the disease. But that's not always the case. There is still so much we don't know about the human body and diseases. For every answer there seems to be a dozen more questions.
For some of us who are living with diseases, there isn't a clear why to what happened.
I have stage 4 liver disease. Aside from some social drinking in my early 20s, I am not a drinker. I had never used illegal (or even legal) drugs in my life. I have never been obese. Why did I get a liver disease?
Along with the liver disease diagnosis came one for diabetes and hypothryroidism that turned into Hashimotos. My immune system seemed to be going haywire and I didn't know why. Neither did my many doctors.
That was about 3 years ago.
Since then I've tried so hard to reach out to online groups for support and information. The Diabetes and the Hashi group I joined were groups that complained about being misunderstood, fatigued and overweight. I didn't read anything from anyone who was surviving and thriving! Where were the tips to living WELL with these diseases? Where were the mentors and where were the people like me?
The last group I joined was a liver disease and cirrohsis group. The people in this group were recovering alcoholics and addicts. They were generally 1-2 decades older than I was. Many had stages of disease that were earlier than mine, yet they were in such poor health and actively dying. My disease(s) are stable and controlled. I plan to live well for a very long long time.
Because I don't fit the sterotypes of these disease I am often frustrated at the lack of support for me. I do suffer chronic pain and fatigue- but I work full time and I try to be as active as my body lets me.
I get frustrated at other patients too. The ones who eat or drink to excess. The ones that smoke or make other unhealthy choices that impact their livers or chance for liver transplant. I'm trying so hard to LIVE and to me it appears as if they are throwing their chance at life away.
There's a cause and effect to making unhealthy lifestyle choices.
There's also a cause and effect to playing the blame game. Someone with no apparent cause for their illness becomes a poor "victim" and someone who's choices may have contributed to their disease becomes the deserving stereotype.
I choose not to be a victim. And no one deserves illness.
During those times that I was frustrated at the members of those online support groups, I was playing the blame game. And it's wrong. I have fought for 14 years to end stigma and blame in lung cancer.
That's not at all different than these diseases I am facing and fighting now, is it?