You’re probably saying to yourself something like,”Starting a business with Lupus?! WHAT?!”
Does she really have it, maybe it’s not the “worst case scenario” kind of Lupus etc., who knows?
What I do know is that while there are variations of Lupus, I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Fibromyalgia. Although I don’t have organ failure at this point in my life, I’m going to modify every aspect of my life to ensure it stays that way.
We all deserve a quality life no matter what we’re dealt with, perseverance is key.
Starting a business or even working sounds daunting ( you lupies understand the daily exhaustion, pain and brain fog that seems to come at the worst timing, every time), but bear with me. This three-part series will first explain the diagnosis process and its negative effects on my life at that time; this is key to understanding the next two phases!
Then, how phase I caused me to have an epiphany which allowed me to modify my mental state and understand the cliche saying, “everything happens for a reason”. Mental state is a key component of physical health. Barriers stopped me from being in control of my future, I’ve reduced those and still fight through obstacles, it’s alot easier now.
Lastly, in phase III how I plan on using this autoimmune disease as a way to be happy, healthy, and successful. You have the capabilities to do the same, no matter how hard it is right now, there is always a better tomorrow – It starts with you.
Keep an eye out for takeaways or “lessons” for those who hate reading long paragraphs :). You’re welcome, my friends.
Summer of 2015 was my prime time in college, I was a semi-late bloomer, 24 and working on my Bachelor’s degree. I was ambitious and goal oriented so that I could apply to a Physician Assitant program, travel the world, and help others in poor countries and especially those here in the US. I thought I could do anything that I worked hard for because that’s what we were taught growing up; hard work pays off.
Studying 15 hours a day and hyperventilating before every exam, presentation, and viewing project grades was a huge stressor for me. I was in the middle of taking a rigorous 4-week course with a very intense professor when I started having symptoms of joint pain/swelling and exhaustion. I thought it was just summer heat, bad knees, and side effects of being a college student. But, it became extremely alarming to me and I knew something was off when it didn’t subside after a week.
Fortunately, the first doctor I saw which was in an immediate care center took his time with me more than any doctor before, even more than my PCP! He hypothesized it being Lupus or RA even though there is no family history of auto-immune diseases like this.
Unfortunately, the soonest appointment for a specialist was 4 months later, so I dealt with these issues for the summer and partly overseas for a month in a second/third world country (I don’t recommend that if it can be avoided).
While I know I was a lucky one to be unofficially diagnosed quickly, it only happened because I stood up for myself against the staff who suggested I could have taken drugs or was out drinking the night before, that was/is literally the complete opposite of my life. Anyways, that is one of the many problems with hospitals and urgent care centers – they see too many patients and categorize you without fully listening to a proposed issue or concern.
Lesson 1: stand up for yourself, no one will take you seriously if you don’t. The only reason the doctor came in and took 45 minutes to review my well-being was that I was adamant that something was wrong and out of the ordinary… you know your body better than anyone.
2: Physical Effects
Subtle physical effects were beyond confusing as the internet is full of worst-case scenarios, not to mention it can be extremely depressing to read forums. Although, there is relief in knowing you’re not alone through this confusing, painful, life-altering journey. Do you ever experience the Lupus itch? My body was so itchy, I thought I was having an allergic reaction to everything I was eating. Joint swelling in my knees, sharp stabbing joint pain in my shoulders, knees, hips, and wrists were the death of me. I felt like a 90-year-old lady at 24.
Mouth sores, yes, let’s talk about those. There are various types that you can experience. Usually, they are painless, but some can experience a variance of them which is more cold sore related and those are painful.
If they are painless and red with a white halo it’s a telltale sign you’re in a flare, so keep an eye out! This could help you determine what is causing flares too. Whether it’s environmental, stress, hormone, vitamin deficiency or food allergy related. Research possible causes and get blood work done. An informed patient will demand more answers and will see better results because treatments are tailored to your needs.
I was determined to not become another statistic on 5+ medications a day. Every option to maintain SLE came with serious side effects. Plus, they were quick to give me anxiety and anti-depressant medication, when I showed no signs or had symptoms of depression.
It’s normal to feel sad when a life-changing event occurs. Plus, there are safer ways to deal with anxiety. A few examples are; personal mantras, prayer, and being involved in stress relieving activities.
Doctor’s are necessary, intelligent, and we definitely need them. However, the issue at hand is, doctor’s don’t understand the disease enough and prescribe medication in mass volume. One main reason doctors ignore any holistic method is because they don’t receive any type of compensation for prescribing high quality, non-synthetic types of vitamins & supplements. Also, most patients want a magic pill, but we’re finding it’s not so magical.
Even though there will always be a difference in opinion, everyone’s goal is to live longer and decrease the significant impact of Lupus. My goal is to increase the quality of life and treat problems from the cause, rather than focusing on symptoms.
That’s why Lupus Health Shop is necessary for us. It provides unbiased information and handpicked products that will not harm you or cause unnecessary, harmful side effects.
Many communities are built off of toxic waste dumps and surrounded by chemical producing factories. Our foods are so processed and contain possible cancer-causing chemicals, which is why it is very important to know where our foods are sourced from and how our supplements are made.
Fast Fact – Non-synthetic vitamins and supplements and a daily 50 billion+ probiotics will help restore your gut health.
Gut health, everyone talks about it, but what is it? (more details can be found soon!) Autoimmune disease is triggered by gut health. What harms out “gut”? Processed foods, environmental toxins (factories, chemicals dumps etc.), stress, and viruses attack your “gut”.
Our bodies can only handle so much until it is defeated. I’d suggest blood tests, heavy metal toxicity testing, and a slew of others is a great start to see possible “triggers” of disease.
Lesson 2: Research possible causes of autoimmune disease. Dig deeper than the first page of Google, please! Environmental factors are a huge contributing factor.
Once you’ve been able to connect what causes or even what may be “triggers”, you’ll have a better understanding of how to take care of yourself.
Outwardly, I was happy, bubbly, outgoing, and inside I felt sad, confused, and worried about my future. If you have SLE or any type of autoimmune disease, you’ve most likely experienced a slew of emotions and still do. For those of you who don’t, it’s comparable to “stages of grief”.
Inside, I was bitter that I had to have this. I worked SO hard to be the first in my family to have a degree and become close to accomplishing an important stage of my life so that I could move forward into the next phase to become successful and help others in poor circumstances.
Lost and confused on a career path and imagining how my personal life would be affected, I pushed through with the help of accommodating professors and graduated. I had no idea what the future held for me, but I knew I’d figure it out along the way.
My friends and family had no idea what I was going through or how this diagnosis would impact my future to be financially independent or feel accomplished. To them, I looked healthy on the outside, so it’s not that bad.
Lesson 3: Make yourself strong with knowledge, that way success will find you. Be realistic about what you can accomplish and make necessary adjustments to continue your daily tasks so you don’t give up on your future. Otherwise, you can be your own worst enemy.
Fast Fact – If you’re the type of person who hates talking to others (like me), write it down! Writing allows you to communicate and SOLVE your problems. Save it and make decisions later.
Depending on the severity of the issue, determine if you were in a better state of mind, how would you handle your issue, is it worth the stress or a bad day? How can you modify your situation so that you can continue to complete daily tasks? How can you solve your problem? Remember, one step at a time!
Balance is key to happiness.
The main reason for creating Lupus Health Shop is to not just create a community of “like-minded” people but to provide information that others refuse to talk about. I will show you Real Solutions. Solutions that enable you to be independent, have self- fulling happiness, and confidence in your ability to live a higher quality of life.
Stay tuned for part II to see how I’ve re-shaped my thought process, what steps I take in research for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for a better future allowing me and YOU a prosperous and quality life.