I have this funny little habit of putting my foot in my mouth. I think I'm being hilarious, but more often than not, I end up offending someone or making myself look like an ass.
Steve's brother Dave and his wife Kelly live on the estate side of our development. They are the Farms, we are the Meadows, and there is a group email list that goes to all the residents of both developments.
Last summer, Steve and I went to a BBQ at Dave and Kel's, attended by a bunch of people who live in the development. To be honest, Steve and I don't hang with a lot of our neighbors. Everyone is friendly and wonderful, and we love them, but it's hard for me to be around everyone and their children.
* Buzz, I am NOT complaining, we love where we live, and it's my own demons that make me anti-social. I LOVE paying property taxes for the neighborhood kids' to get an amazing education! *
Anyway, at the time of the party, there was some neighborhood drama via email. Something to do with a pool and cops, and I don't know what. The man at the center of the drama wrote a mass email filled with F-bombs and 'why don't you come here and say it to my face!' and there was a huge backlash against him.
A few of Kelly's friends were talking about said email, and I interjected.
Me: "I read that email. What a douchebag. Way to be a big man writing threatening emails."
Guy I haven't met: "I'm the douchebag that wrote that email."
We are all guilty of having those moments. Some (me) more than others.
In the almost 5 years since I've been diagnosed with lupus, I've encountered far too many of these moments. I know a lot of the comments I receive do not come from a place of malice, but from ignorance. Lupus doesn't get much "publicity," and when it does, it's not to educate about the disease.
Blue are things people have said to me, and red is my commentary.
"Lupus? Isn't that the disease George Constanza was so afraid of getting?"
Reason #837468736 why I fucking hate Seinfeld.
"At least it's not cancer."
This one kills me. You're right, it's not cancer. In many cases, cancer can be beaten, or one can have a surgical procedure to prevent certain types and be deemed a hero. Cancer receives billions in funding, and rightly so. But, I don't get that option. Lupus has no cure, and there never will be in my lifetime due to lack of funding. It took over 50 years to come out with one medication specifically for the treatment of lupus. There was nothing I could have done to prevent this, and I will more than likely continue to swallow handfuls of pills and take a shot every day and undergo infusions for the rest of my life.
Don't get me wrong, cancer is awful. It's directly affected the lives of too many people I love. It's an ugly, ugly disease, and I know firsthand how scary it is to hear that it's in your body. In my case, it was one of my lupus medications that sped up the process for my cervical cancer developing. By the grace of God, I had a few uncomfortable procedures, and it was gone. There are so many that aren't that lucky.
If I had the flu or an ingrown toenail (gross!), then yes, tell me "at least it's not cancer." I am alllllll about looking on the bright side and finding a silver living. I know I wouldn't win the "whose got it worse?" game in many cases. But, until you fully understand how debilitating the disease is, that lupus has affected my heart, lungs, cervix, blood, brain, bones and skin, and all that damage can't be undid, then please, keep your mouth shut.
"Must be nice to not have to work."
As I type this, I am looking at my 3 degrees I worked my ass off to get. Aside from taking years of my time to earn, they cost me close to $80,000 (that's with scholarships and tuition reimbursement). I didn't go to school to stay at home, and I get myself in such a funk that I am not working. I adore my job and being a contributing member of society. Had I chosen to stay at home, then yes, it would be nice. But, I've said it before and I'll continue to say it 'til I'm blue in the face; I didn't choose this.
"I wish I could take a nap in the middle of the day."
I get it. You're tired. Everyone is tired. We live in in a society where it is frowned upon if you can't do 42 things at once. I thought I knew tired before lupus, but it turns out it was just night shift and hangovers. I can't explain the fatigue that plagues me every single day, no matter how much sleep I get. I never feel refreshed. Aside from the pain, the fatigue is the hardest thing for me to accept. I don't know how I spent my first 3.5 years working full time, school full time, social life full time, etc... I think the older I get, the less I care what people think and have finally come to terms that I can't function without some kind of nap during the day. But don't tell me how lucky I am. I assure you, there are 42 things I'd rather spend my time doing than taking a nap.
"My boyfriend's cousin's friend's baby mama had lupus and cured it by eating beets and lettuce every day."
No. Just no. She may feel better with her beets and lettuce, but she is not cured. Hopefully for her, maybe her lupus isn't very severe. But, no. Beets and lettuce? I'm not a fucking rabbit. Fogo de Chao, take me away.
"EXCUSE ME!!!! Is that a fashion statement or are you fighting something?" (stranger in the mall asking about my lack of hair)
Bitch, I'm about to be fighting you if you don't get out of my face.
"But you don't look sick!"
This is the most frustrating. Do I need to look like Rick Grimes most recent victim to convince you?