(This article was written by my 24 year old daughter, Allie.)
When my mom called me up and told me she had been diagnosed with Lupus, I was terrified. Like most of the general public, I knew pretty much nothing about Lupus. The only impression I had was the running joke on the TV show “House” that when a patient displayed a weird amalgam of symptoms with no apparent cause, “it’s never Lupus.” But in my mom’s case, it was Lupus. I treated the news as though she had cancer – I thought she was dying.
In reality, over many discussions with her and research, I learned that Lupus is not cancer and I didn’t need to rush home and care for her as she wasted away. In fact, I’ve seen my mother grow stronger after her Lupus diagnosis. I assumed the worst, but mom having Lupus has affected my life in ways I didn’t initially think possible.
We Have Grown More Distant
This may sound bad, but in reality, the distance Lupus has created between us is healthy. Let me explain what I mean. When my mom first called me from a few states away to tell me she had been diagnosed, I immediately decided I was going to go home, move back in with her, and help her take care of her health. But she insisted I didn’t do it. She spent 18 years living with me and taking care of me. She needed to live alone and take care of herself. As a result, I traveled and spent the next few years working on myself.
Now, we still don’t live together and we are still close. But I believe that the time my mom took to withdraw and learn to deal with her illness has actually made us closer and has made our relationship healthier.
I Have Become Healthier See My Mother As A Real Person
There was a period of time a few years ago where I lived with my mother. This was after she had gotten a handle on managing her illness and her life had more or less gained some balance. I still wanted to be able to help and take care of her, even though she was doing perfectly fine on her own. I suggested we start eating better, so we took inspiration from the Paleo Diet and eliminated processed foods from the kitchen.
This diet didn’t last incredibly long. But to this day, after all the research I did into the Paleo Diet, I have changed the way I choose to eat in most circumstances. I think that we are both still more conscious about what we put into our bodies.
I See My Mother As A Real Person
My mom and I had always been very close, but Lupus came between us and allowed my mom room to be more than just a mom for the first time in a long time. As a single child of a single parent, my mom was always Superwoman. She never got sick. She never made mistakes. She always knew the right thing to do and she always took care of me. I genuinely like who I am today because I see myself in her.
This feeling has not changed. But my mom having Lupus showed me a different side to her; her human side. I have seen her
- in pain
- suffering mood swings
- with rashes
- taking medication
- and taking days off work to manage her illness
This is not the infallible person I am used to seeing. However, where you’d think disappointment and disillusionment would lie, instead there is increased respect and awe.
My Career Has Been Propelled Forward
I didn’t ever think or hope that I would benefit from my mother’s illness. I still don’t like to feel like I do. But in reality, my business has indirectly grown as a result of my mother having Lupus. Ann’s Butterfly Effect was created out of my mom’s love of crafts and art. I think that to combat the helpless feeling of being chronically ill, my mother finds comfort, solace, and direction in creating jewelry and other pieces. Not to mention the joy in adding beauty to a frustrating world and using the proceeds to benefit Lupus research.
This website was one of the first that I designed and built. Her social media campaigns are the first that I’ve run on my own. Because she’s my mother and not a formal client, I have been able to learn and try new things with her marketing and website. Through trial and error, I’ve found a lot of what works and can use this expertise to get new clients. Her decision to start this business has helped my business grow.