I resolve to evaluate myself and play to my strengths for the new year

Focusing on others and reducing my stress are 2 areas I'll address in 2024

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by Mary Lott |

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Calvin, of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, once resolved not to make any New Year’s resolutions. He was going to wing it and see what happens. Hobbes, the tiger, then inquires whether Calvin was intending to stay on his present course. Calvin’s answer was in the affirmative, that he’d stick with his strengths.

I’m much like that, but not entirely. I believe it’s good to evaluate my course of action to see if there’s anything I should correct. Such considerations take into account my cold agglutinin disease (CAD).

CADdies must evaluate their lives

CAD, as many of you know, is a rare autoimmune disorder in which self-targeting antibodies attack and destroy red blood cells at low temperatures. CAD is chronic and requires lifestyle changes. To do otherwise means more symptoms and negative effects. We CADdies, as some of us with CAD call ourselves, may experience tiredness, acrocyanosis (which causes skin discoloration), Raynaud’s syndrome, pain, headaches, dizziness, and heart problems.

Since being diagnosed with CAD in 2018, I’ve been conscious of my environment and assess whether an activity is possible for me. I evaluate my condition by focusing inward, constantly analyzing my activities and even my spiritual well-being. Like Calvin, I go with my strengths. Even so, I resolve to focus on specific areas.

I realize I need to be more thankful for the blessings I do enjoy. For instance, I’m thankful for rituximab (sold under the brand names Rituxan in the U.S. and MabThera in Europe), a first-line therapy for CAD. Another blessing is the many people who affirmed me and assisted me during a recent trip home to Alabama.

Look outward

I resolve to focus more on others. So far, my writing here has focused on me. As I look back on my activities over the past year, I’ve ministered to many people: my husband, my foster boys, and my neighbors. I need to continue that and, if possible, increase that activity. Being aware of and helping out those in need helps me keep my concerns in perspective.

One of my “negative resolutions” is to be less affected by others’ drama. Just recently, I received an email, followed by a letter, spaced a few weeks apart, that caused me several sleepless nights. My body reflected the stress as I tried to determine solutions to a very real concern. As I uncovered more of the facts, however, the situation wasn’t as serious as was stated. For the sake of my health, I’ll be filtering my communications more strictly.

I hope to reduce my stress, as it affects us CADdies adversely. It makes us more vulnerable to inflammation, which in turn triggers our immune system to fight an invader. In us, the antibodies target our red blood cells, which causes their destruction (known as hemolysis).

On that note, I also intend to become more aware of nature because my spirit is calmed and stilled when I notice plants, animals, and fish. I find that “all nature sings, and ’round me rings/ the beauty of the spheres.

A stargazer lily, blooming over brown earth.

A stargazer lily reflects the beauty of creation. (Photo by Mary Lott)

The end of the matter

Unexpectedly, I learn a lot from comic strips. The interchange between Calvin and Hobbes, which is really Calvin’s internal conversation, is wise in its resolve. In one panel, Calvin responds to Hobbes’s query that “I’m resolving to just wing it and see what happens.” A large number of my listed resolutions are already in place, so I’ll continue along the same plan and just wing it, adjusting as I go along.

Finally, I resolve to follow the admonition of King Solomon, “Fear God and keep his commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV). By doing so, I expect the year to go well.

Note: Cold Agglutinin Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cold Agglutinin Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cold agglutinin disease.