Saturday, April 5, 2014

Superpower Day

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: Superpower Day.  It’s a bird, it’s a plane it’s….you!  If you had a superpower – what would it be? How would you use it?

As children, we all had our favorite superheroes.  We considered which character we admired, who had a backstory we could relate to, and what costume we'd most like to wear.  Most of all, we thought about the superpowers (and many of us still do).  In fact, just this morning my facebook feed included links to the Zimbio quiz, Which Superpower is Right For You?  Of course, I had to take it!
I'm kinda ok with this result!
Personally, I always had a thing for Superman - clean cut, pure and true, standing up for truth, justice, and the American way ... and that charming smile didn't hurt.  Batman didn't have special powers, but he did have "all those wonderful toys."  Wonder Woman had the best costume: she had the bracelets and the boots (and we all know how I feel about boots) ... and of course, she was the strong and powerful woman in a superworld dominated by men.

When I was younger, it was fun to imagine having different heroes' abilities.  Sure it would be cool to fly or have super strength, but the powers I really wanted were invisibility and telepathy.  I wanted to go places to find out what people did when I wasn't around.  I wanted to know what they were thinking but not telling me.  I guess overall, I wanted to know what I was missing out on by just being little ol' me.

That was a long time ago, and a lot has changed since then.  Now, there's only one superpower I would wish for - one that I wold love to have and share over and over again: the power to heal.

Living with Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Migraine, Chronic Sinusitus, Insomnia, Erosive Esophagitis, GERD, IBS, and more, I have been in pain in some part of my body pretty much every day for the past 8-10 years.  Most often, it's several different types of pain in many parts all over my body at once.  Debilitating fatigue is more than just being tired - it's literally being so tired it hurts, so exhausted that it is a struggle to do the most basic tasks, so bad that no amount of sleep can relieve it.

As SuperButtahfly, with an awesome pair of boots and the ability to heal, of course I would use my power on myself right away.  Then I would be able to heal people all over the world, too, and not just their physical suffering from illness or injury.  I would heal their emotional wounds, as well.  Whether someone was heartbroken from a breakup, missing someone who passed away, or hurt for any other reason, as SuperButtahfly, I would be able to take the pain away.

In the mean time, I can't just sit back and hope for healing.  I've got to do what I can - both for myself and for others near and far.  I may not be a SuperButtahfly, but there are things even a "regular" Buttahfly can do (and remember, we can all be buttahflies).

  • Volunteer - I have been an active volunteer since I was a child.  The specific tasks and charitable organizations have varied as my passion for the cause(s) and desire to help has guided me along.  Though we may no longer be able to perform the physically demanding tasks, there are still plenty of opportunities to meet any need.
  • Participate in Research - Many health-related charities are continually running long term studies.  Some look at the patients, to see how the disease activity changes over time.  Others look at healthy family members, to see what may develop over time and identify trends.
  • Become an Advocate - Advocates reach out to local politicians, making the cause more personal and asking for support.  Many organizations will make it easy, giving volunteer advocates the information and even the wording to use so that we're sending a unified message.
  • Fundraise - Research and patient support programs are only possible when sufficient funding is available.  Anyone can write a check, but signing up as a fundraising participant can do even more: not only can we raise more than we can donate ourselves, but every time we ask for a contribution, we are also spreading awareness about the cause.  (Of course, now I've got to take this opportunity to plug my current fundraising effort!)
    On May 17th, I'll be participating in the Arthritis Foundation's Walk to Cure Arthritis, and I could really use your support.  Pleasvisit my page to join my team or make a donation.  Every little bit helps!
  • Share Your Story - One of the hardest parts of living with a chronic illness is the feeling that no one understands what we're really going through.  Finding others with similar experiences, then, brings the connection and lets us know that we're not alone.  My hope is that in some small way, this blog can bring that comfort and healing to someone who needs it.
**If you like what you read, tell a friend.  In fact, tell me, too - post a comment below!  If you don't ... well ... I'm all for honesty, but ... please be gentle!