My dear friend, Christina was diagnosed with lupus nephritis a little over 8 months ago. Her symptoms came on quickly and her body was experiencing kidney failure when she was diagnosed. Immediately, she began chemotherapy and started taking a huge regimen of daily medications to keep her symptoms at bay and to allow her kidneys to heal. This all meant that she was immune compromised and the life she was used to living had to be altered. The plans she had upcoming had to be cancelled. Her daily routine became daunting as fatigue set in. Overall, life changed.
Last week, Christina challenged me to take the Cut it Out 14 day challenge to end lupus. I agreed to give something up for 14 days in support of my friend and will make a donation at the end of the 2 week challenge. Without thinking, I followed the others I saw joining and said I would give up Cokes.
WHAT WAS I THINKING!?!?!
Here is what you need to know about me. Every afternoon, I drink a Coke. I've done this for as long as I can remember. When I was working, it was a little pick me up to get me through the rest of the day. When my kids were babies, I planned my Coke time during naps so I could truly enjoy it. When Tillery was in the hospital, there was no "afternoon Coke". I would drink one in the morning, another in the afternoon, and even have another once she went to bed during my unwinding time (don't judge unless you've lived it!).
I began my challenge last Thursday. I'm literally 4 days in and it's messing up everything!
Thursday's I teach and I normally get a Coke on my way onto campus and sip on it through my 2 classes. Those little bubbles keep me going through back to back lectures on the same material. Sometimes, I skip my pre-class Coke and instead, opt to get one on my way home. A celebratory beverage after surviving 3 hours of college students.
Thursday was different. Instead of my peppy Coke during class, I had water. It was fine but not nearly as fun and the ride home without my extra caffeine boost was no fun either.
Friday, I again missed my pick-me-up and noticed I was getting pretty run down and irritable in the afternoon. I was feeling tired but my usual caffeine boost was no longer an option.
Saturday was a long day with a big church event that took all morning and kept me busy. I came home and the kids went down for naps and I wanted to do my usual routine. I even thought of cheating and having a Coke to reward myself for the busy morning.
It was as soon as I had that thought that I immediately flashed to Christina and how much she must wish she could cheat. She has missed time with her daughter and travelling with her husband because of the fatigue. She has missed participating in group meetings and outings because of germs, and when she was able to participate, she had to wear a silly mask that immediately made her stand out in the crowd. She's had to change so many things in her life and give up so many of the things that bring her little bits of joy. The same kind of joy that my afternoon Coke brings me.
I got sad. I started thinking of all that was running through my head about my Coke and how it all could relate to my friend's struggle.
"Why can't I just have one?"
"It's not fair that I can't but anyone else around me can."
"Would it really hurt to just do it once?"
"I miss my routine."
"I miss my energy boost."
I am sad! I hate what Christina misses and how her life has had to change. It brings tears to my eyes to think of this sweet friend, who always does for others, having to make sacrifices in her life. To think of how it must hurt and how that hurt probably comes and goes so she never really feels like she's over it.
For the next 10 days, I will miss my Coke. When Thanksgiving Day arrives, I will leap out of bed and rush to get my favorite bubbly beverage that I miss so much. I will give thanks for Coke! I will also give thanks for my friend, Christina, who is currently in remission. She's done with chemo and done with masks. She's celebrating her life and I'm happy to be a part of it.
Cheers to you, Christina! (Water cheers while I wait for my Coke!)
**To donate to the Cut it Out Challege, Click Here.