What I learned from chronic illness

Shortly after September 11, 2001 I found myself with a very bad cold. I was coughing and short of breath. The cold became bronchitis, and seemed to go on forever. My doctor referred me to an allergist. My allergist referred me to a pulmonologist, noticing something in the X rays of my lungs. He wasn’t sure, but it appeared to be cancer, and there was a chance I might have six months to live.

The news hit me like a bomb. I was dazed and didn’t even know what to think. I was afraid to die. I pondered my relationship with God and my family. There was so much I wanted to do, things I had failed to accomplish. I wanted my family to have the best opportunity for the future, and it frightened me that I might have failed them in that regard. It was one of the pivotal moments in my life. Similar to what happened in 911, thingsĀ I once considered to be important to me we’re no longer important. My priorities shifted and career was nowhere near the top.

After the lung biopsy, the doctor gave me the news. I had sarcoidosis in my lungs, not cancer. Sarcoidosis would not kill me, but I would have to learn to manage it. I was so relieved and happy. I would have to take good care of myself as I would live with a weak immune system, scarred lungs possibly affecting my breathing and a host of other issues, but the point was that I would live. This was my chance to build up my relationship with God and my family. To make sure that in the future if something were to happen, I could leave this existence with peace of mind.

What happened to me changed me forever. The lessons learned would not be forgotten. I do not sacrifice my family for business, and yet business is going fine. I would never wish for anyone to go through the horrible feeling of believing that they have a very short time to live. On the other hand, the soul searching that happens might just be worth it.

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2 thoughts on “What I learned from chronic illness”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Indeed as you say – as much as we love our job, it’s just a job and many other things in life are so very important.
    I was curious to know – how does the fact that you have to handle a weak immune system affect your daily work? I mean interpreters meet a lot of people and often you are very close to your client.

    1. Elisabet that was a great question. Having a chronic condition made it impossible for me to work for anyone else. I had to start my own business so that when I am unable to work, someone else can cover for me. I make more money if I do jobs myself, so I try to stay as healthy as possible.

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