The one common theme that I found in doing these interviews from my Lupies were LIVE YOUR LIFE…everyone have setbacks and they all know to dust themselves up and continue kicking Lupus in it's butt…I believe we all have to fight to live and to live the best life that we could. Meet another Lupus Warrior who despite it all is still fighting and persevering.
When and how did you find out you had lupus?
I found out I had Lupus my second year of College back in 2011. At first I wasn't sure what was going on with my body but I knew something was up. I could spend days studying for a test, but everyday the information seemed new. I'd be out of breath & extremely tired, which was out of the norm for me. But what ultimately made me go to my doctor was the huge amount of swelling & unbearable joint pain. After months of intense testing I was told I have Lupus.
How has life changed since your diagnosis?
My life has change drastically! I had to drop out of school because things got really bad. At times I felt like Lupus robbed me! I was no longer able to do things a regular young adult my age were able to do. Even shopping became a burden, because walking long distance even for a short period of time would leave me breathless. Now that I've learn to manage it, my life still isn't 100% normal but it's bearable.
What are some of the biggest challenges of living with a chronic illness?
One of the many challenges for me is getting up in the morning. You'd think after a night's rest I'd be energized and ready to go, but it's the opposite. I have to mentally prepare myself to get up, take a shower, get dress & make breakfast. All that sounds pretty normal, but by the end of that routine I'm ready to get back in bed. Going up & down the stairs in my home, doing groceries, playing with my niece, taking a shower, cooking; all these things, though I love to do can leave me very fatigue. But I'd say the biggest challenge of all is allowing myself to live! I'm only 25 and I feel like so much of my life has already been spent in the hospital bed. So I make the conscience choice every single day to be a person that LIVES with Lupus.
What are some common misunderstandings about Lupus?
•Lupus does not make you tired, you are just lazy!
Oh if I could switch bodies with each person that ever said this to me, just to give them a look into my life.
•Lupus is contagious!
I think my face says it all whenever I hear this. Most people are misinformed when it comes to Lupus. In their mind they think it's a hematologic disorder & can be transferable.
What advice would you give others battling lupus?
Best advice I can give is to live your life! I've learn throughout the years that our thoughts play a big role when it comes to our health. Speak life! Think positive thoughts!
Proverbs 4:23 “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” I live by this. Don't allow your “condition” to be the controlling factor of your life. You're in control. Listen to your body and get familiar with your triggers. Eat a balance diet and get a lot of rest! Most of all GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! Life isn't going to be easy, but as long as you get to open your eyes everyday, give the fight all you got to make it the best you can. Surround yourself with people that will genuinely support you and love on you, and be okay with those that can't or for whatever reason choose not to.
How has living with lupus affected your career?
I'm not in my career yet, but I put a lot of thought into what I can or can't possibly do because of Lupus. I recently moved to another city to attend college, in hopes of pursuing my dreams of becoming a Gastroenterologist. Though I know the journey will be long and hard, I'm ready to give it all I got. Speaking to people with the same condition that are currently in college or have already graduated, they've expressed to me that taking my time is best. Don't try to do so much all for the sake of finishing.
Bella, thanks for sharing your story and I wish you the best and I know you got this.