If I am being completely candid, I first felt a major shift happening in my body a few months back. With so many exciting projects I chalked it up to nerves and general anxiety. As weeks went by, I could slowly feel the fatigue set in my body. I started physical therapy once a week, and began exploring holistic options to see if I could eradicate the exhaustion that I was feeling. I have been a notorious workaholic since my 20s; 60-70 hours is well within a normal work week for me.
Do not get me wrong, I absolutely take the necessary time to unplug and recharge my batteries. And when it’s time to play, boy do I play. Just ask my bestie, recall the time when I approached a table where the Russian mob was sitting and without skipping a beat I proceeded to pour drinks for them, myself and my friends. No questions asked, just my fierce confidence and a prayer that they would all somehow find it strange and comical. Thankfully they did. I blame my Sopranos obsession. Lesson of the night, never think you can out drink a Russian. You will lose.
I digress. The terrible fatigue I was feeling would finally culminate in the most excruciating pain. The kind of pain that I would not wish on anyone. And trust me when I say that I have lived through some shit in my short 32 years of life. This was unlike anything I could even comprehend. In the span of a week, my legs became unresponsive to the point where I could barely walk and get out of bed. My hands and toes were completely crippled. I remember having to ask my sister to open a bottle of water, because my hands were so swollen and the thought of bending my fingers felt like having tiny knives jabbing my joints. I had gone to bed and awoken to the body of a 104 year old lady on her last days. The worst was waiting on results, because the pain was only getting stronger and stronger. At one point, I really thought, I would have to be rushed to the emergency room. Thankfully, relief finally came. My blood work showed that I had an unusual amount of antibodies, and then a separate panel would reveal that I have systemic lupus.
My younger sister was diagnosed with lupus 5 years ago and research seems to indicate that there might be a hereditary component to this disease. Though her lupus manifests in a completely different manner. Thankfully with treatment, she’s been healthy and with a few relapses in between she leads a pretty active and healthy life. That said, I have also seen her face really painful days and frustration. The cause of lupus is still unknown. More than 90 percent of people with lupus are women between the ages of 15 and 45. And just like in my case, it really can occur overnight. Although I felt minor symptoms of something being off, the pain did not set in until it did.
I am working with an amazing rehumatologist who is extremely knowledgeable in treating autoimmune diseases. I would be lost without the amazing support of my family and friends. I am thankful that even in the most painful of times, I could still hear the voice of God, saying: Feel the pain but do not fear it. Know that wherever you go, I have gone before you and declared victory.
No matter what challenges get thrown your way, remember to be like the Phoenix and rise from the ashes.
All my love,