Sunday, April 8, 2012

Keep Calm And....

Keep Calm and Prep for Battle! Day 9 of WEGO Health's 'Health Activist Writer's Monthly Challenge': Our job is to "Write (and create) your own Keep Calm and Carry On poster. Can you make it about your condition?". It was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

I was going to do "Keep Calm and Conquer" but, I think that theme is getting old. You can only hear me talk about conquering so often before you start rolling your eyes and laughing at my obsession with the word. And then I was trying to think of stuff relating to Lupus. I had nothing. Lupus is lame. "Keep Calm and Take Your Vitamins" is lame. "Keep Calm and Listen to Doc!" ain't so hot either. Then my brain lit up like it was the fourth of July and Poof! "Keep Calm and Prep For Battle" was born.

Now how in the world does this relate to Lupus or chronic illnesses? Well, let me refer you to Defining Lupus and Myself. You can see my funny little sketch of my internal battle. When I first learned of my disease, I had an easier time understanding what was happening inside me when I compared it to a medieval battle. No nuclear weapons or tanks or anything like that. Actually, it's less medieval for me and more like ancient Greece. Swords and spears and vicious battles. Pillaging and ransacking defeated areas is common.

My body is like Greece. We're the "good guys" (at least in this case). The "bad guys" are germs and stuff. But if you remember your history, you'll remember that the Greek city-states didn't always get along. Like Athens and Sparta fighting in the Peloponnesian War. But they get along sometimes to fight off the enemy (like Persia in the Persian war. Killing off King Darius' army). And that is how my body is. My body is Greece. Fighting each other and Persia. And my body suffers the consequences in the form of Lupus symptoms. Like pleurisy and chronic pain and chronic headaches.

I want to be Sparta. My dissenting body can be Athens. And germs will still be Persia. (Actually, I'd probably be Athenian since I like words and Spartans tend to get right to the point. But that is irrelevant.)
Image by Alexander Chechetkin

We Spartans must prep for battle. We don't have spears and swords like the real Sparta did. But we aren't trying to kill people. We're trying to quell an internal battle and fend of the evil Persians at the same time. That is why we choose to eat healthy foods. We strengthen our immune systems any way we can. We take our medicine to fortify our army. We try to exercise regularly and get enough sleep. We take our doctor visits seriously and try to be the best patients possible. We ask questions. We educate others. If we don't do this, our army will become weak. And they will lose the war. And losing the war means suffering. It means a slow and painful death. At some point in time, Sparta will cease to exist. It happens to everyone. But we can slow down the process.

Do you use any analogies to understand your illness?

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