It's been nearly 10 months since I was officially declared free of scleromyxedema - long enough for a new me to be born (or a renewal of the old me), but some days the mindset of 14 years still holds on.
There aren't many people who suffer from this life-threatening condition and far fewer are those of us who have escaped it. Scleromyxedema (also called Lichen Myxedematosus) blew into my life in 2011 in when I was playing soccer with friends - the groin tendon in my right thigh failed and my leg turned to jelly. If it wasn't for the guy running next to me, battling with me for the ball, I would have simply toppled to the grass like a felled tree. What was more embarrassing was that 10 minutes later, after much concern from my friends and confusion within me about my own body, I was completely fine. Until the next episode.
The following year, after much pain and worsening symptoms, I was diagnosed, bringing fear, anger and relief - my foe at least had a name. It's hard to bear when your body becomes its own worst enemy, as is the case with auto-immune diseases. It's also hard to bear when you don't look much different from a healthy person: in my case there were signs, but unless people knew or were very observant, they went unnoticed and my behaviour was misunderstood.
Fast forward to around 2008, after years of friends not understanding why I often couldn't come out to play, I was introduced to The Spoon Theory, written by Christine Miserandino. Let's be honest here, I cried buckets when I read it, because finally I had some way of explaining - not only to my friends but also to myself.
So why am I writing about this? Because there are so many people out there who suffer from this kind of disease. I know what it's like, I'm fortunate enough to be in remission now, which means I also know how difficult it can be to change the mindset of over a decade.
Please - whether you have a chronic illness or not - read The Spoon Theory. You might not save a life, but you might just make it a bit more bearable through understanding.