Thanksgiving Day is the 90th day since the start of my Benlysta infusions for Lupus. Just one year ago, my doctor and I were deep in a battle trying to get insurance approval to resume Rituxan infusions to try to get me back into a some level of remission. Now, that insurance battle is old history, after having my 5th Benlysta infusion this week.
I am very thankful for the changes I already see in my health because of Benlysta. Mornings are very different, waking up with improved mental clarity instead of cloudiness. Lupus arthritis pain in my joints, muscles, bones and tendons seems to keep reducing a little more with each of the past few weeks. My energy level has been raised noticeably, and I am optimistic about the long-term outcome from Benlysta infusions. Gradual improvements just keep inching along to elevate my overall health and sense of well-being — not dramatically — but rather, slowly and systematically.
Today gives me an opportunity to pause and reflect upon many things in my life which cause me to kneel and gratefully thank my Creator for richness, fullness and blessings in my life.
My thoughts turn to my husband, my children and children-in-law, grandchildren and many other precious family and friends surrounding me and enriching my daily life. I am grateful for the unconditional love of a forgiving Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Christlike unconditional love of those closest to me who walk with him daily. They love me, complete with my shortcomings, limitations and illness. They give, support, encourage, care and share burdens with me and I with them. I am thankful that they even sometimes worry about me. Such selfless love is the most priceless and precious of gifts one soul can give to another.
I even thank God for my lupus. I would wish it away in a heartbeat if that would really be possible. However, the lupus has been a part of my life experience throughout the past couple of decades, and for many, many years before that when it had no name. It is a part of me that I cannot change.
Lupus brought with it a need to depend upon God and others for the strength and ability I so often lack. Lupus means learning to accept and live within narrowed limitations, while learning about personal peace and contentment. Lupus means learning to prioritize what is most important, since I am unable to do everything I would like to. Lupus means learning to have compassion toward others who have similar challenges to mine, because I know what it is to struggle just to feel good and do the basic things of life with a physical burden. Because of Lupus, I am stronger, more determined and perhaps more real than I would be without it.
But today, I thank God also for Benlysta, and for the many, many people that invested their money to bring it to market and provide for years of research, development and clinical trials. I am thankful for the FDA committee that saw beyond political correctness to approve a drug for lupus that still needed more efficacy testing in treating women of color. I am thankful for the patients who had the courage to engage in Benlysta clinical trials without knowing if it would help them. I am thankful for my doctor who was willing to prescribe it. I am also thankful for the generosity of the manufacturer of Benlysta, who provides patient support and financial copay assistance programs to the lupus patients who need it.
Today, I see how much my “glass” is so much more than half-full, it is full to the brim and spilling over as I carry it through each day of this adventure! Today, I thank God for who He is, and for the life and light He gives to me. On this Thanksgiving Day, I praise Him for His greatness and great love.