You know that saying, “when one door closes, another door opens?” Or “when one door closes, a window opens,” or whatever the hell that saying is? Well life with multiple chronic illnesses has a somewhat similar saying, and it goes like this:
“When one door opens, another door opens, and then a window opens, and then part of the roof comes off, and then at least one side of the house falls down.”
And the reason we have that very famous saying (jk I obviously just made it up) is because when you are diagnosed with one autoimmune disease, chances are it has at least one other sibling in tow. But in all honesty it’s probably more like a family from the 1920s so it comes with 8-12 little disease siblings. So I guess when I was diagnosed with asthma as a child it opened the flood gates for illnesses.
I currently have 4(ish) diseases: asthma, lupus, gastroparesis and ehlers-danlos syndrome (still just a working diagnosis and I’m waiting for the confirmation from a geneticist). My body clearly thinks this is some sort of competition, and I am a competitive person by nature, therefore I’m racking them up like it’s what I do for a living. Actually, it technically IS what I do for a living right now because I’m on sick leave.
It’s funny (not funny ha ha) how you can go years and years without being able to get a single diagnosis when you’re sick, and then when you finally get what you think is your single, solitary disease diagnosis, all of a sudden your doctor just starts throwing them at you in rapid succession. I have to admit, I do find it very interesting (more in a a scientific, detached way) how autoimmune diseases work and that they never really seem to work alone. I guess it makes sense that your immune system is already malfunctioning, hence the reason you were diagnosed with an initial autoimmune disease, so of course it’s going to malfunction in more ways than one.
So talk to me. How many autoimmune diseases do you have? Which disease is the alpha? How many diseases are you diagnosed with a year? What’s your disease batting average? Is there a treatment method you tried that seemed to stop the autoimmune dominos effect? Should I just invest in buying myself a bubble?
I look forward to hearing your stories even though they will probably scare the crap out of me!