Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Relating Two Books to Lupus

I have been looking forward to this post since I first saw it early this month. Books are a passion of mine. I own over three hundred books and if I had the room, I would own even more. My favorite books are all classic novels. Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice and Persuasion, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers and Guy Du Maupassant's Short Stories all make me unbelievably happy. I wish everyone could feel the happiness and contentment I feel curled up with one of these books and a cup of tea.

The problems with this post is choosing which one of my books to choose a random phrase from. I've decided it would be easier to choose a phrase from a few of my favorites and then pick which one I like best.

"Cosette was musing sadly; for, though she was only eight years old, she had already suffered so much that she mused with the mournful air of an old woman"- Victor Hugo's Les Miserables

Butterflies, he then told me, are very good at seeing purple. In fact they have a very different range of color vision than humans. Reds are usually invisible for them, but they can see all the way up the rainbow scale from yellow to beyond violet and into ultraviolet." Victoria Finlay's Color: A Natural History of the Palette.

I can't decide. These two spoke the most to me. They both seem to relate to Lupus.

We'll start with the phrase from Les Miserables. Poor Cosette. Her mother had to leave her so she could go make money. She was living with the mean Thenardiers who were making this young child to lots of chores and would beat her if she did anything wrong. For her few years in life (she was 8) she had to deal with so much suffering. I, thankfully, have not been in the same situation. But, I have seemed to suffer quite a bit for my age. I'm barely in my 20s and already I have an autoimmune disease. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would have to deal with something like this. Maybe when I was older, like in my 40's maybe. And sometimes I muse sadly when I'm all alone in bed. I miss my old life. I didn't know how good I had it.

The we have Color: A Natural History of the Palette. I'm an artist and graphic design enthusiast so I have a ton of art books. Well, not a ton. I have about 7 or 8. I wish I had more, but those books are expensive. This book is one of my favorites though, because it tells you where most of the colors come from and some of their symbols in the ancient world.

The sea snail Tyrian Purple comes from
(Image by M. Violante)
I like this passage because it involves butterflies and purple (violet). And lupus' symbol is the butterfly (I assume it's because of the malar or "butterfly" rashes we get. I still haven't figured out why purple is our color, but it's a good color. In ancient times, it was extremely expensive to make the color purple. That is why purple is always associated with royalty. They usually only allowed the color purple to be worn by royalty. Do you know how purple was created? Tyrian purple, the color used in ancient times to clothe royalty, was made by extracting the mucous secretions from a certain species of sea snail in the Mediterranean ocean. Very disgusting, but the color is so beautiful.

I think it's pretty awesome that butterflies can see something we can't see unless we have an ultraviolet light. I think anyone with a chronic illness or disease can relate to that. You start seeing the world in another light after your diagnosis. You become more aware of your body and everything around you. And you can see what healthy people don't truly understand; you are never truly living unless you have your health.

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