never blame the cheese

Mo loves cheese. From every kind of stinky-feet-creamy-crumbly-moldy-bleu to all the sharp-Irish-whiskey-rinded-white-cheddars to everything in between. He still talks about the manchego and goat cheese we ate at the Chicago artisanal cheese shop, Pastoral, six years ago. One of our best days in Seattle included a long lunch at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese shop at Pikes Market. Don’t even get me started about our trip to Paris. If there’s a fromagerie nearby, you can bet we’ll stop in for a peek at their locally-sourced and decadently-imported curds.

Now when you eat cheese like Mo eats cheese, there are prices to pay. Mo’s high cholesterol got his doctors prescribing the statin drug, Lipitor, in 2004. Fast forward almost exactly 3 years and we were questioning whether Mo’s exposure to statins caused his Dermatomyositis. There are a lot of speculations about what causes myositis, and no definitive answers. We’ve heard the blame put on statins, reactions to traumatic insect stings, Agent Orange, bad genes, God, cancer, the environment, and auto-immune responses to other stress factors. While we agree that it IS important to find out the cause of myositis for those that don’t have myositis yet, for those of us already diagnosed it seems a little like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Does it really matter how we got myositis? The fact is we have myositis now.

When we were accepting the fact of Mo’s myositis being life-long, that he’d have to be on drugs likely the remainder of his life and that we’d have certain medical probabilities in the future, we talked a lot about letting go of the blame. Blame holds you in the past. Did the statin drugs Mo took for cholesterol cause his DM? Maybe. Were the statin drugs the best option for Mo at time they were diagnosed? Probably. Is the 5:1,000,000 risk of developing myositis better than the 1:4 risk of developing heart disease/stroke (the number 1 killer of men & women in the U.S.)? You better believe it. Was all that cheese the cause of all of this? Mo says “never blame the cheese” and I agree. It doesn’t matter what we did yesterday. What matters is what we do today, what we will do tomorrow.

We sincerely hope that the cause of myositis is found. We deeply hope that no one else will have to suffer the pain, frustration, fatigue, fear, and heartbreak of living with a chronic disease like myositis. We truly hope there will be a day when treatments for myositis are obsolete because myositis has been cured. Until then, let’s talk about how to make the life we have the best life it can be. Let’s talk about now.


5 thoughts on “never blame the cheese

  1. Living with a chronic illness has to be one of the hardest life challenges you face everyday. I agree that dealing with the here and now is the best way to help you cope. So take all the pleasure out of every day that you can and if eating cheese is one of those pleasures go for it!!!

  2. I like “Never Blame the Cheese” because it speaks to how I tried to blame myself for the RA and the Polymyositis because of all the stress in my life 4 years ago. Somehow I reasoned that I did it to myself and became depressed and despaired of life when I started to experience the joint pain and fatigue of RA and then the PM symptoms. None of this self blame helped the situation. I decided to live and took online college classes. My husband Tom cheered me on though I was so fatigued and weak. I focused on the future by deciding to change my career from massage therapist to work on a hospitality management degree. It wasn’t easy to give up my passion for massage therapy because I helped so many. Now I am helping people again as a Curves trainer. I am helping other women become stronger and lose weight! How funny is that?

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