An Immune Rebellion


I imagine we can all relate to the poor miserable man in this Neo Citran commercial.  And with the flu season upon us, many of us have had it already or are going through it right now.  My heartfelt sympathies to you; the flu can be quite brutal.  Wouldn’t it be comforting to have this sweetheart of a drooling St. Bernard find us and bring us instant relief at our bedsides?

And in my experience, those pesky bugs tend to arrive when I have absolutely zero time for them. Out of necessity I seek the miracle medicines being advertised in the media, promising that they will let me can carry on, full throttle and all!

It doesn’t work out that way.  Something positive happens instead.  I’m forced to slow down, rest and generally take care of myself – even if it is but for a short while.

This leads me to Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch January 6, 2016 flash fiction challenge.  It was to write a story in 99 words (no more, no less) about a rebellion.

What came to mind were autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, or Rheumatoid Arthritis, or Multiple Sclerosis.  In each case, the immune system rebels, attacking the very cells and tissues they are designed to protect.

What makes these disorders particularly challenging is that the immune system has somehow been reprogrammed to include a miscreant behaviour.  And there are no drugs or treatments that can restore the program to its original healthy version.  Destroying the body’s defense system is not an option.

While our instinct is to say we’ll fight the condition when we’re told the news, I believe the real answer, in this case, lies in the attitude of ‘we will listen’.  We need to not only listen to what the doctors tell us, we need to listen to our bodies as well.  Only with acceptance, kindness and compassion can we achieve lasting change that will make a difference to both the disease and ourselves.

Here is my contribution to Charli’s flash fiction challenge.


“Doc, tell it to me straight,” said Tracy, seriously annoyed that her doctor had made her come in the office to convey the test results.

“Okay. Here goes. You have polymyositis and you’re going to need to slow down.”

“No, that’s not possible. I’m in the middle of a corporate takeover.”

“Then make time Tracy. What you’ve got on your hands is a rebellion.  Your immune system’s attacking your muscle cells.”

“Well, you just need to quash it Doc.  That’s your job, right? You fight disease.”

“Obliteration is not an option. You are going to need to change.”



8 thoughts on “An Immune Rebellion

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  1. What a brilliant take on the prompt, Kate. I wouldn’t have thought of it. Very individual. Your message is very important to slow down, listen, heal. I think your final statement says it all: “Only with acceptance, kindness and compassion can we achieve lasting change that will make a difference to both the disease and ourselves.” There is a great deal of wisdom in those words. I understand the implication that acceptance, kindness and compassion start within.
    Thank you for your beautiful words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Norah! The part I did not talk about in the prompt was how difficult and how much we resist and struggle with reaching the state of acceptance, kindness and compassion – particularly in the world that pushes drugs at us, even during something as simple as the flu, so that we can ‘carry on, full throttle and all’!.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Charli. Yes, it’s all about finding that ‘balance’. I read a lot about it, hear a lot about it – and based on the amount of material out there, it sounds as elusive as getting a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. I hope you feel better soon. 🙂


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