Beloved and I had a late brunch today after church, with my children. It was relaxed and fun, playful. She looked tired. Tonight as my kids and I were finishing up dinner, my cell rang and it was Beloved telling me she'd just had a call from her daughter, L.
Turns out L's doctors are now saying they believe she has systemic lupus. It appears that her symptoms included both severe anemia and pleurisy... just a few of the enormous constellation of symptoms that can be present with this diagnosis.
Beloved has lupus, as well. She was diagnosed with it many years ago, has had several flares over the years, including one in which her kidneys shut down and she was in a coma for three weeks. But she has not had a flare for 15 years, and is on a carefully balanced regimen of medication that seems to do the trick. She is also extremely careful about the amount of sleep she gets, and is attentive to her nutrition. She has learned to live with lupus (when she was diagnosed the medical community considered it a death sentence).
Lupus does not normally run in families. Beloved is somewhat in shock that L has been diagnosed with it, but a lot of puzzle pieces are falling into place as a result. I think she is experiencing the phenomenon of being somewhat relieved at knowing, while also having the mixed blessing of knowing very well what L is facing.
Beloved's appointment is tomorrow morning at 8. She hasn't told L about it yet, which I think is ok.
This morning I sent an email to Beloved, while she was sleeping. I told her that the sky was astonishing... wide gauzy pink and blue swaths of color with the sunrise. Later I received an email from her, sent roughly while I was preaching my sermon. It read, "you are everything to me."