The two greatest joys of my life stood at the foot of my hospital bed, just a couple of days ago. The previous night I was lying in bed with, what felt like, an 800-pound gorilla on my chest. I was having difficulty breathing and I was doing everything in my power to stay calm. I didn’t want to alarm anyone, I didn’t want to wake up the house, and I didn’t want to go to the ER. My mantra, during episodes like this is, “Everything will be okay, just relax.” I always repeat this to myself when something just doesn’t feel right and I’m afraid to admit that fact.
I was never afraid before I gave birth to my boys. I used to stare fear in the face with courage and strength. “Whatever is meant to be”, I would say. My two boys were asleep next to me during this incident. They have blessed me with the greatest role of my life. I am their mother. Now I am facing fear in a different way. I’m trying to dismiss it. I can’t be afraid because that will cause stress. Yet, I feel helpless. “Please don’t let anything happen to me tonight”, I plead, “as I must be here for my boys”. “Please don’t take me away from them and please give me the strength to get through this.”
I was awake all night and in the morning the feeling was just as severe and I was just as scared. I was hunched over in pain. What was I supposed to do? As I mentioned, I tend to write things off and dismiss them when it comes to my health. I do not want to be dramatic, even if the situation may call for it, and I always think it will pass and I can handle it on my own.
I called my doctor and he told me to get to the ER immediately. Once I arrived they gave me an EKG, an I.V., XRAYS, and blood work within minutes. I told them how I felt and how long I’d been feeling that way and of course I mentioned that I have Lupus.
I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus six years ago. This kind of lupus can affect any part of the body and attacks the body’s cells and tissue. These attacks result in inflammation and periods of illness called flares, alternating with remissions. I mention this because you will understand why I try to brush off my various symptoms as they occur. “Oh, it must be a Lupus flare up.” Some of my others are, “my period is coming, I’m tired, I’m so active with the boys, and I’m fine.” Well, on this particular day, I realized things needed to change.
I had to seriously look at myself and figure out what I could do differently. I needed to truly accept the fact that I have Lupus and embrace it once again. I have been breastfeeding for almost five years, and I am a vegetarian. I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life and turned vegan after it was first determined that I had Lupus. All of these things take a major toll and demand a lot from this one body I’ve been given. I must be proactive like I was when I was first diagnosed. I must create a new plan to nurture and fortify my system and myself. I will commit to juicing and exercising daily as well as allowing enough rest to let my body heal. I read a wonderful book called the ‘Lupus Recovery Diet’ and in it, I learned so much about the importance of diet in any disease. I’m also anemic so I must be sure to eat foods that are rich in iron. Additionally, I will be taking B12 which we vegetarians need since it is mostly found in meat, a daily multi vitamin, vegan omega 3’s, flax seeds in my morning green drink and juicing with organic raw vegetables.
I don’t want to be afraid. I want to be strong and healthy. I want to enjoy each and every moment with my boys. I want to thrive and overcome. I want to Live Fully and happily. Isn’t this what we all want?
Thankfully my heart and lungs checked out ok this time and now I have to see an ENT doctor to explore my esophagus. I am grateful that I made it through the emergency and the pain. The weight on my chest is gone. Yesterday was a better day and today is another tough one. I get through and I manage on the challenging days because, having kids you love so much, doesn’t leave you with much choice. Each day is new. I always find the strength because of my passion for life, for love, and for my boys. Raising them with all of the LOVE I have inside of me is all I can ask for. Receiving their Love and witnessing their growth and development is purely magical.
In closing, I thank you for listening to this personal tale I needed to share. I am doing my best and I’m grateful I’ve realized what I need to do. I will not let fear take over. I will be smart and cautious and always pay attention to the whispers and the screams. I am thankful. I am human. I am here if you want to talk about something you might be going through or if you have any questions. We all need support.
Much Love and Good Health to You,
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