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    The Survivor

    I am a 42 year old single African- American mom currently battling systemic lupus in its more severe form. June, 2004, I narrowly escaped death when a very sudden and aggressive attack shut down my pancreas and liver. While doctors were scratching their heads I suffered in ways I didn’t know was possible. I contribute my survival to my faith in God and his grace to allow me to live in order to to raise my 15 year old son, who has no one but me. My close call with death, although not the first has left me focused on the purpose of my life I have left and even more on giving purpose and meaning to the life I have lived.

    The Mission

    • Make "non-chronically ill" aware of the comprhensive effect of chronic illness on every aspect of a "survivors" being...mind, body, & spirit.
    • Provide basic information and resources about disease in an easily understood, quickly accessed format.
    • Information and tips for managing symptoms.
    • Expressions of spirtuallity and intellect, that portion of us thats affected by disease but not determined by the disease. We are so much more than "patients."
    • Summary of resources, sites of interest, links to other personal blogs, websites, and forums relavant.
    • Place for other to share through comments, subscription, etc.

    A Lupus Survivor's Timeline

    The Life

    By the time I was 18 years old my mother gave birth to my half sister, but the joy of her birth was soon overcast by my mother’s severe postpartum depression, which led to years of fighting mental illness. By 19 years old I was married. We had a beautiful son that suddenly became ill and was diagnosed with neuroblastoma on his third birthday. After a brutal protocol of chemotherapy then full body radiation for an autologous bone marrow transplant, we had less than a year of remission before he died at 4 years old. My marriage failed for obvious reasons. After my son’s death I received a B.S. in Biology with the intention of pursuing medical school. Exhausted and burnt out I decide to take off a year. During this time I become pregnant with my current son. I was so happy to have a child to fulfill the void left from motherhood. I make a decision to to put off medical school until he is walking and talking.
    By the time I was ready to go back to school my general health began to deteriorate. I suffered two years with a variety of symptoms beginning with fatigue and frequent "colds" to the point of absolute exhaustion and disabling arthritis. I couldn’t even maintain a job. Eventually I had to also give up the clients for my home business. During the course of one week I ended up in the ER 3 times for high fever and pain. Next, one night I experienced a severe neurological event similar to a seizure, but I thought I had a stroke. The EMT asked me as they carried me out, "Do you have Lupus? " After countless visits to doctors and emergency rooms the previous two years not one had mentioned this mysterious disease to me. Without explaining the rest of my ordeals, I soon found he was right. In minutes he diagnosed what doctors had called "anxiety", ‘stress", and "arthritis".
    There are so many lessons I have learned through these hurdles that I feel compelled to share. I do not want my life to go unnoticed. I believe my story can give inspiration to faith, love and perseverance as well as raise awareness to some underrepresented issues such as postpartum mental illness, the horror of childhood cancer, and the mysterious incurable disease of systemic lupus erythematosis.


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