I Don’t Normally Look Down

I’m determined to try something new every year. I sometimes think I’m going to take up rock climbing. I might be really good at it. Okay, maybe not really good, but I think I would enjoy it anyway.

I want to write about all the incredible things that have happened to me since my last post, how each of those things have represented a new hold. I want to write about how I was blessed with a full schedule of clients almost overnight, how business is growing. I am learning, helping people, and most importantly, working again. I want to write about how our loan modification is being fast tracked for review. Approved or not, I’m over it and ready to move on. I want to write about how my husband got a great job offer, in the place I want to live the most. I want to write about how close we are to finally getting through this foreclosure and moving on with our life.

I want to write about how humble I am for being on the descent, from one of the most difficult climbs ever. I want especially to write about everything I have learned — at my very weakest. I want to write about strength from spaces, from holds, I never expected. I want to write about gratitude.

Instead, I’m processing a very different kind of incredible…and staring at a climb that makes the other one look laughable.

Almost a month ago, I made an appointment to have a small rash on my face looked at. I honestly thought they were going to give me some expensive cream with the word hydro and maybe an x in it and send me along. Instead — they did a biopsy. A week later, blood tests. Another week and I’ve tested positive for lupus, a debilitative autoimmune disease that can affect entire organ systems. It affects different people in different ways. So far, we know it’s attacked my heart.

If my life were a riddle, this diagnosis would be the “AHA” moment, the pinnacle, when everything suddenly makes sense. The rashes, the joint pain, the breathlessness. The heart disease, the tumor, the fatigue. If my life were a riddle, this is the part where I get to laugh a bit.

But I don’t want to laugh. I want to be angry. I want to scream at someone. I want to be scared. I want to cry. I want to tell someone who will listen, that this is not fair — I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t want this. I was so close…didn’t you see me, rappelling down that rock? I’m pretty sure I was smiling, letting the air whip past me, so excited about reaching the bottom.

I want to trade all of this for just one day when I don’t feel like I’m falling.


And then I remember all the skills I’ve learned, all the strength I’ve collected, and I match my hands together and remember to be thankful. Rock climbing will just have to wait until the next time I feel well. For now, the something new? — Is the choice to let gratitude guide me.



14 thoughts on “I Don’t Normally Look Down

    • Did you know you are one of the first people I told? Thank you always for your support and friendship. You make me want to be a better writer and always inspire me to write more. Xoxo.

  1. Lupus is not easy. I have a close friend with the disease and I’ve heard a lot about it. But I’m glad you got it diagnosed. At least now you can treat it and monitor it. You have my prayers that the disease quiets and you are free from flare-ups and episodes.

    • You know what’s weird? I don’t think I ever even really heard of lupus before this. And now, almost everyone I talk to about it knows someone who has had it. It’s interesting to me how wide the spectrum is in terms of how it’s affected people. Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it.

  2. Alane, your authenticity and willingness to share your raw, open emotion is inspiring and encouraging.
    It’s completely fair to feel what you’re feeling… and the positive attitude that you’re able to bring in to the mix is not only powerful but illuminating to the rest of us.
    Best wishes, sending love & prayers.

  3. I’m sorry to hear that you have had a diagnosis of Lupus. It has certainly changed my life and I pray wholeheartedly that you can keep this positive attitude.

    • Thank you. I hope to stay open-minded and accepting of what’s to come next. I appreciate knowing that there is a supportive community of others who have this disease. I am still learning, and I know those resources will be invaluable.

  4. You are a strong and courageous woman. I have no doubt that you will handle this as graciously as you have taken life’s other punches. Always here if you need to talk and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. YOU, my dear friend, are a true inspiration. A genuinely “Real” person like The Skin Horse . . . and I thank you for sharing that “realness.” You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers . . . always.

    • Thank you Mark! I appreciate your reaching out to me when I was having a bad day & checking in on me. It’s friends like you that encourage me to share openly the things that I’m going through and remind me that people will be supportive.

  6. New here, nice to meet you! Isn’t it, well, strange, that a stranger stumbles upon your writing as you are writing something like this? You can do this, think of how empowering it feels to know more, to have something that puts some of the pieces together for you. I’m looking forward to reading more of your words.

  7. I’m so sorry to hear about the diagnosis! But if anybody can overcome, it’s you. I don’t know you personally, but it seems like you have a huge amount of internal fortitude, and you handle things with grace and humor. I know how conflicting it can be to finally get an answer to all the things going on with your body: you’re relieved that there’s a name for it, a “solution”, but angry that you had to suffer for so long without an answer. And, of course, you wouldn’t be human if “why me” didn’t cross your mind once in a while.
    I have faith that you will make the best of it, and I offer my ear and shoulder anytime you need them.
    My prayers are with you.

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