As many of us have faced, it always feels as if the challenges tend to stick out stay with us, rather than the victories. I feel that is more likely about "Human Nature". As humans we tend to "dwell" on the things that feel lousy to us.
As far as "Challenges - the 1st Challenge was truly facing the fact, I DID have not just ONE but "several" possible Autoimmune Illnesses, of which any or all, could cause all kinds of havoc in my life.
2) Facing the tests, all the labs (my 1st go round with lab work, they took 18 TUBES of blood, I am a difficult stick anyway but had to go back 2 or 3 times because some of the blood did not get to the lab quickly enough and was ruined before those tests could be ran.
3) How many so-called "Rheumatologists" do NOT have the "same thoughts and mindset" on Lupus, RA, Sjogren's and all of the other Autoimmune disorders. I found that some did not deal with "ALL' but possibly only dealt with one or two of them. I also found out that MANY doctors (specialists) ONLY went by "blood tests". IF you did not have a "positive lab on RA for example) some of them really were not convinced there was a "sero-negative" RA. I went through at least 7 or 8 Rheumatologists BEFORE finally finding the Rheumatologist that fit my illnesses and needs.
4) Trying to "find" the right medications, then trying to get the doctors to allow me to try them, and the insurance to pay for them, and then finding that medication or medications that even worked for my particular symptoms.
5) Losing my own "caretaker", then becoming a caretaker twice, all the while letting my own illnesses, continue to deteriorate my joints, and body. After putting off surgeries, now I facing further degeneration of my cervical and lumbar spine. I've come to find out that losing all of my teeth, all of the joint replacements, surgeries, many of my other illnesses, are ALL due to the autoimmune diseases and medications also. It seems there are so MANY different health problems that can be caused by AI diseases and/or the medications.
1) Finally getting "diagnosed after MANY years of not one physician "getting" that it was Autoimmune related issues.
2) Becoming aware that I was able to take my illnesses, become a "voice", advocate, Ambassador, for some of these, and that my blog, writing, and my books; along with Social Media really gave me a chance to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
3) Getting to go to Washington DC in 2014 with the Arthritis Foundation! That was a dream come true. All my life, I had said I wanted to stand on the White House steps, and TELL MY STORY! Basically that is what I truly was able to do. I was able to "tell Congress" what my own personal journey through hell and back was like.
4) Finding the ONE Rheumatologist who has helped me, along with my Primary Care Physician, who Thank goodness was the physician who actually "found" my Autoimmune Issues.
5) Continuing to be able to slowly but surely "move forward". At times these diseases are "dammit the hell" bad, and put me on the sofa for even a week or more. BUT, so far, I am able to put one foot in front of the other each day, and even though the pain, and all of what comes with these illnesses can get horrible, I so far am able to do some things myself, realize when I can't, and be "smart enough" to admit that I need help with certain things.
continuing with another "Victory"
For the most part, I feel "fortunate" to have somewhat of a "victory" over whatever happened to me in 2010, when I was so extremely ill and in the hospital for over 6 weeks having several surgeries, even a 2nd Heart Attack, yet survived to come home, take months to really "get better" and still be here right now to "tell about it"!!