Friday, March 23, 2012

How Lupus is Like 'The Hunger Games'

Lupus is a good thing. The people who get Lupus are the lucky ones, as is anyone who has a chronic illness. There should be parties held for people who are diagnosed. There should be nothing but smiles and laughter and celebration. None of this fear or crying. There's no need.

I haven't seen The Hunger Games in theater, yet. I've read the books, though; they're addictive and exhilarating. Everyone diagnosed with a chronic illness is like the tributes. Some of us are like Katniss and Peeta, some are like Rue, and the rest make up the rest of the tributes.

The people who are like Katniss and Peeta are the ones who fight tooth and nail to succeed. They want to survive and they use whatever tools they can to do so. They don't just sit around waiting for a cure to happen. They go searching for their own cures. They read books and articles and scour the internet for anything that might help them along the way. They don't let naysayers get them down. And the phrase "there is no cure" holds no meaning for them. In the end, they will be helping the tributes after them succeed. They will be giving advice to those new to the game and people will look up to them.

Some are like Rue. These people fight hard. They use whatever skills they have to stay ahead of the game, but in the end they succumb to their disease. They may not die like Rue does (sorry, spoiler alert), but they stop trying to beat their disease and instead let it control them. They start out fighting, looking for ways to make themselves better. They start off like Katniss and Peeta. No book or article goes untouched. But when they can't find a cure, they give up. They accept their "fate" and live in pain and suffering.

And the rest are like the other tributes. They'd like to survive, but they just don't have the same hunger that Katniss and Peeta have, or even Rue. They succumb to the disease pretty quickly. They let things happen to them instead of them taking control of their destiny. They might follow their doctor's advice blindly. They might just say "Well this is how my life is going to be, I might as well get used to it". They give up when they should be digging their heels in and saying "This is not how I want to live my life".

Who are you? Are you going to defeat your illness? Or will you let it defeat you? It's your choice. You choose how hard you will fight.

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