I was diagnosed with this illness in August of 2011. I am Colombian, 44 years old and have been a resident of the US for the past 6 years.
I remember that my hands begun to get spots and they felt rough, oftentimes with bouts of pain, when I was about 19 years old. Doctors, however, would tell me that this all was from the soap that I used.
Years later I got a dark patch in my back and another one on my right ankle, both rather large. When I was 24 I had my first child, then I also began suffering from my kidneys and I regularly got asthma attacks, three or four times per year. Doctors kept on saying that it was a passing infection.
In 2009, February, I began to suffer from high fever and I felt sick and depressed for no reason that I could figure out. I went to the doctor and they found a kidney stone about the size of my kidney itself. As it turned out, my kidney was infected and only working at 5% of its capacity. They said the best course of action was to remove it. I now think it was a scleroderma attack.
Every day I feel more pain in my joints and I feel weaker and clumsier in my hands. Cold paralyzes my toes and my fingers and causes much pain. Unfortunately they also discovered thyroid cancer and removed my thyroid 2 months ago, even more unfortunately, it metastasized to my lymph nodes.
Today I want to tell all of those who are depressed that only you can decide how to feel. It is in your hands to be happy or unhappy, our lives are not determined, but we can decide to feel grateful to God, take their hand, claim for his unending mercy and walk life with a smile. Let’s enjoy today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not here, each new day is a new opportunity and life is short but beautiful. Let’s be thankful, for there are others who have less than what we have. It is easier to be happy and thankful than sad and defeated, and it is a life choice.
Let’s enjoy everything and be happy because every time we get depressed the illness wins, so we must learn how to smile and how to love. There is nothing sadder than a defeated person who has turned into a burden for everyone else. We educate not only by words, but also by example, so think about what lesson you want others to gain from you, whether it will be defeat and sadness or strength and happiness. Every day of my life I thank God for this new opportunity, I ask for love and strength to keep on smiling.