LUPUS SLE... by definition it is a nasty auto immune disease that chooses to attack healthy tissues in its attempt to protect the body.
I was diagnosed with lupus on August 1, 2016 and remember saying to the doctor, what does this mean. She only replied,
" it means you will be on medication for the rest of your life." I cried. From the moment she said that and even up until now. Life sometimes can appear to be unfair, I still have moments, I’m actually having one right now. As I sit in the lobby of a hotel I booked for vacation only to realize that free breakfast sometimes doesn't include people like me. (I’ll explain more later) Never the less this is my journey and like many things I endure that are trying and difficult I find a way to accept and persevere regardless of the circumstances, and just like my "Lupie" sisters and brothers, I am a warrior daily, fighting for my health, happiness and better days without worrying about when my body will attack itself again.
As soon the diagnosis was discovered I stopped at nothing to figure out how to get this disease under control. As scary as it was to hear, I was more scared about the effects of the medications that were prescribed. So many bad reviews and so many reactions caused me to be apprehensive about treating it with modern medication. My gut told me to not do it but the doctors encouraged it and I just wanted relief. So I started taking the #1 drug for lupus and I was allegoric to it. Three mediations later I have seen nothing but the same results. Either I get sick from the meds all together or It does the opposite and makes my condition worse. With the constant gamble of not wanting to feel worse, I decided to discontinue medication and attempt to find a way to treat myself more holistically. Soon after I met Yve Edmonds, meeting her changed my life.
Yve is a plus model who was diagnosed with lupus in 2008. She openly discusses her journey with lupus and how she has learned to control her flares naturally. It was like meeting someone who was a reflection to my life. She went through the same journey as I did and is managing it without medication. Now, don't get me wrong, everyone’s journey with lupus is very different which is why it is so difficult to catch and diagnosis. Never the less with her I saw hope and all I needed was a little bit of it.
This past winter I became really sick from a medication that again was meant to help. I reached out to Yve and she gave me some real great natural remedies that helped a great deal! The encouragement received from her helped me find what works for my body. Through trial and error, I learned that my body reacted to any inflammatory foods, particularly (gluten, and dairy products, red meats, and pork.) I am a lot more sensitive to my triggers than she is but never the less it was me being an advocate for myself that has allowed me to get more answers, Yve was the vessel used to bless me with the tools to get fight this disease. Daily I thought about how I could repay her for being so transparent and open with me about her journey and it hit me; A gifted photo shoot to bring more awareness to this "mysterious disease." Like so many people who suffer with "silent symptoms," I knew something was wrong but couldn't get any of my former doctors to listen. I fought for answers, because I knew something was wrong. This Lupus awareness shoot was a product of being completely honest about what lupus really looks like. Lupus looks like me, the mother who takes care of two children, has two businesses, an entrepreneur, model, mentor, lover, sister and friend. Lupus looks like anyone, because anyone can develop it.
I am the first in my family to receive an auto immune diagnosis. I honestly believed my symptoms would amount to diabetes which is very familiar in my family tree. symptoms of Lupus Sle can start with but aren't limited to: Fatigue, joint pain (mild and severe), skin rashes, butterfly rashes, dizziness, fainting, seizures, chest pain shortness of breath, heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, migraines, blood clotting, kidney failure, nervous system attacks, and the list continues. The scariest part about this disease is that most people don't get diagnosed until years after their first symptoms begin. I myself started symptoms in August of 2008. I was coming home from a vacation (in which I received too much sun exposure also known to trigger flares), and I fainted and couldn't breathe when landing at the airport. It was the scariest moment in my life. Needless to say, I was never the same and the fear continued as almost 8 years later they finally figured out I have a serious autoimmune disease.
Though Lupus is a very scary disease to endure and suffer with because of it unpredictable attacks, I have found much needed support and strength in my "Lupie sisters". I have CRIED HEAVY TEARS, had hard conversations and even empowering moments with them. Up until I met them, the only person who knew what I was enduring was my best friend Chanel Addison who literally held my hand while I suffered through my first flare. The biggest gift anyone can to you in life is support when you need it the most. She is a cancer survivor and currently had RSD, also a non-talked about auto immune disease that attacks your nervous system with debilitating attacks just like my flares. Like my relationship with Yve, I knew when I met Chanel I had to support her, I knew I had to hold her hand and be there by her side as she fought cancer and then again with RSD. Ironically enough I now am in need of the same support and she is right there with me! The connection I’ve made with some of these powerhouse queens are so inspiring!!!! They are the only ones that get it.... And I mean truly get, because they experience it first hand everyday themselves.
Having an incurable disease can be heart wrenching at times. The doctors throw you drugs and you pray it works or you pray it doesn't make you feel worse than when you began. This journey has taught me many things, but the thing that it has taught me the most is to appreciate life and those that love you the most. There is no need to cause extra stress in your life. If it isn't there to help, uplift support or encourage you it needs to be removed from your life all together. Life is too short and it just isn't worth it. I suffer a great day deal with this disease but I remind myself daily that it could be so much worse than what it is or how it has been. I am able to wake up and see my children and family, everyday and that means the world to me. Keeping a positive air about yourself is key in all things in life. Staying happy and healthy is my ultimate goal. Ive made many changes since I have been diagnosed and the biggest fight has been staying positive through it all but I am. I do believe that we will find a cure and that better days are coming. Believing is the beginning AND SUPPORT MEANS everything. If you take anything from this blog or my story I hope that it is to never ignore what your body is telling you. Always push for answers, and be an advocate for your health. Reach out and be aware of those that suffer from chronic illnesses, you never know one day it could be you standing in the need of support and prayer.