Someday, you might believe something that someone tells you is true and you just might be in the state of mind to believe them. I hope, for your sake, they’re not lying.

A really solid piece of rhetoric will brand you for the rest of your life marring everything you hear, see, taste, touch, and understand. As a result, you’re not the same person anymore.

In 2005, the week of my 18th birthday, I was told by a team of doctors and a specialist that it would “take a miracle” for me to live to see 28. I weighed 187 lbs and could run a 5 min mile. I could throw a javelin 174 feet and had a few small colleges interested in me. However, one afternoon my heart hit 300 bpm on-and-off for 2 hours. My ANA levels in my blood came back positive for lupus. Those two facts lead to my diagnosis. Any dreams I had for the future came to a startling stop. My folks, taking advice from a doc, got a therapist for my potential “PTSD”, knowing that there was no way they themselves could be of any help. To be fair, they never really could help.

After my therapist breached confidentiality with my track & field coaches (they were college buddies that kept in touch), I lost my ability to be a part of a team. Without support from my family, friends, or teammates, I moved to Bellingham to escape the creeping reality that I was going to die.

While living at Western Washington University and going to school at Whatcom Community College, I had the unique opportunity of being an atheist living with 2 Christian missionaries. They told others of my beliefs. In turn, those others found me at school and decided to beat me up.

I started dating a woman that I found out was bi-polar, but only after she attempted to kill herself. Deciding that “life is too short”, I moved back to Spokane to study engineering at Spokane Falls Community College and took a job delivering eviction notices and cleaning out abandoned houses. 

At my mother’s behest, I took out a living will and gave her power of attorney. I wasn’t 20 yet.

Two years later after being attacked by a squatter and getting tired of guns being pointed at me, I quit that job to finish the last bits of my associate of science. My last quarter, I switched to an AA degree and declared my major for Eastern Washington University. I thought again, “if life is this short, spend time studying something fun and challenging”. I became a student of the Belle Lettres, an English Literature major with a minor in Religious studies. My first quarter a tenured professor told me to drop out of college or, “…at the very least, pick a different major”. I had him as an instructor 3 more times before I graduated.

I didn’t take a job during that time. I spent the majority of my days in pain and unable to move. If it wasn’t for Disability Support Services, I would have dropped out. Granted, some professors thought I shouldn’t get “special” treatment and ignored the accommodation order. I still passed with a B.A in English in 2012. My father disowned me on the day of my graduation.

I didn’t know what to do. I had survived the already high mortality rate set for the 5 year mark. So, I did what anyone with an English degree does, I worked at a restaurant. I made pizza, got fat, and tried to not drown in anger. In the meantime, I figured I would explore possibilities. I took an unpaid internship at the YMCA helping to write grant proposals. It was the first time I was in a supportive environment with people telling me I was good at something (even if they couldn’t figure out what that something was).

That winter I worked through writing a major grant with walking pneumonia and covered in flour from cooking. I had split shifts cooking and couldn’t get back home to clean up. I thrived on being needed.

I was reduced to zero hours at my cooking job about the same time I joined a Bible study. They didn’t want to fire me, but persuaded me to quit after I couldn’t cook hash-browns to save my life. At least I could still enjoy challenging my own beliefs with the study. A friend offered me a job fixing watches while I waited to get into grad school. I had missed college. Grad school seemed like the next logical step. I went back to EWU to seek advice. Two professors convinced me that the program of Rhetoric and Technical Communication would be ideal for a person “like me”. 

That summer I got in to EWU and was simultaneously promoted to store manager. My first quarter I was told that I shouldn’t be there. My new mentor claimed that I was accepted because I was, “The chair’s golden boy”. The chair had been my adviser in undergrad and was the one of the two professors to talk me into the program. She was quite supportive.

I worked 70 hours a week that November selling watches and still pulled out a 3.9 in one of my two classes. I was offered a 3.0 in my other class if I wrote a meaningless paper by the same dissenting professor that had expressed her dissatisfaction of my acceptance. I took a Zero along with the feeling of being ethically secure. The next quarter I was kicked out. The department chair batted for me, but I had to prove my character with witnesses, statements, and schedules under the scrutiny of a tribunal. The same month, the watch store closed permanently even though I had cut the debt in half. The gain wasn’t enough to keep the branch open. 

My last act as manager was to fire everyone I had hired only a few months prior. I became sick for 4 months bleeding out of my throat. Doctors didn’t want to take my tonsils because, with lupus, surgery can kill you.

I was accepted back in the program though I wasn’t healthy enough to attend classes. The school offered a non-teaching GSA to pay my way, but I had to prove I belonged every quarter for the next 2 years. I took internships at different non-profits, all unpaid. Keeping busy was the only comfort from reality.

In 2015, I held an open house party for surviving 10 years. I called it “F*** Doctors Day”. Nearly everyone in attendance thought it was my just my birthday party.

I graduated in 2017 and found finding a job nearly impossible. I broke up with an abusive girlfriend and considered getting baptized. While looking for work, I tried therapy again. I felt like my last years should be peaceful. Over the course of 9 months, I spent my time with ex cons and homeless guys in support groups meant to tackle generalized “guy issues”. I was paid to write a few blogs and asked to edit several grants, but nothing substantial. I was baptized in the Little Spokane River that October.

A month later, my mother told me that she “wished I was never born.” My birthday coincides with the anniversary of her parents’ untimely death.

In 2018, I was hired to work for Microsoft through a vendor looking over multi-million dollar licensing contracts. Several Microsoft employees told me to “stay in my lane” while they threatened to fire visiting fellow vendors from Singapore and South Carolina if they didn’t clean up the boss’ house after an Independence day party. I ended my contract and don’t know if they would’ve hired me full-time or not.

That summer, I started dating a doctor even though I have a prejudice against them.

I worked at a non-profit where my boss told me I was lazy. She took 4 hour lunches and Friday’s off due to “health reasons”. They let me go for a “lack of work ethic”.

I took a part time job attempting to sell an after-school program to parents at mostly cultural festivals and holidays. I was offered a job at Nintendo through a another vendor, but was told I will never be allowed to say I worked there. I quit my first day of training and took an internship at a small blogging company that specializes in helping lawyers. 6 months later they hired me full-time. They even gave me this blog. At the time, they said they didn’t know why, but that they wanted me. I like to think it’s because I see things differently than others. To be fair, every egotist thinks that. 

This year, I went back to the doctors in July after getting my new insurance. The blood work showed I still have lupus.

A cardiologist just told me my heart was healthy. There are no signs of damage and that I could go back to running.

A rheumatologist just told me I don’t have lupus. Of course, I argued with him for a half hour. He ordered one last blood test to be done. I’m currently awaiting the results. Part of me hopes that I’m still sick. The other part wants the chest pain and butterfly rash on my face to go away.

Either way, I don’t know what to do if I’m fine.