No human is perfect. We all have strengths that we are proud of and weaknesses that we try to hide. But instead of hiding our weakness, what if we embrace it? Using your own weakness into strength, would that be possible?
As a single mother, a lot can relate on how hard it is raising your child alone. Those hardships I have been through made me tough. Just when I am enjoying life as it is, another challenge came in to my life. I was recently diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus commonly known as Lupus. Yes, me too… I find it hard to pronounce as well! So, let’s just simplify it instead. I want to use this opportunity to spread awareness. Not all of us know what Lupus is neither do I until this happened to me. Well, as they say life is full of surprises! This is a surprise that turned my life upside down. When the doctor told me about the sad truth, I didn’t tell my loved ones right away. I was so afraid, thwarted and depressed. I began questioning, why does it need to happen to me?
What is Lupus? As most of us know, it is a chronic, auto-immune disease. But the truth about this sickness is not well known to us. It is a sickness that the antibodies or the soldiers don’t recognize the real enemy. Instead of attacking only the harmful virus or bacteria, it attacks the body as well. Mostly, it damages the body’s internal organs like the kidney, the heart and the brain. There is so called “Lupus cloud.” This means a lupus patient tends to be very forgetful. There are a lot of auto-immune diseases like Diabetes, Psoriasis and Leukemia. Lupus is not contagious nor can be transmitted sexually because it is not caused by a virus, bacterium or any other infectious agent. However, vertical transmission (mother to fetus) would be possible. The cause of it is still unknown that is why until now the cure is still out there waiting to be discovered. It cannot be treated like the way they treat cancer, leukemia and other auto-immune disease. The only thing to do is manage it like having high-blood pressure. It is a complicated disease that most doctors call it as the “Great mimicker” because it is not easily diagnosed. Most of the time, Lupus is the underlying cause of a sickness. Like in my case for example, I have been undergoing constant therapy for my back pain for 5 years. Eventually, my pain progressed to my muscles up to my joints. The Rehab doctor diagnosed me of having carpal tunnel. Only to find out that the real cause of these pains is Lupus. Only a Rheumatologist can give the right tests and diagnosis about this illness. I can say it was some kind of luck when my doctor referred me to a Rheumatologist when he noticed a symptom from me that is not related to my carpal tunnel syndrome. I somehow can say that I was lucky because with all the bad results from the tests, my organs are still healthy.
You reap what you sow.
I guess it really pays to live healthy with pets! My stress reliever was to dance and embrace my cats. I love to dance! I always try to have work and life balance. I love adventures and do travel a lot! It would be better to collect experiences than sickness because you are over worked. The worst part of it is that I cannot do the things I can do because I am too old to do it. You have been spending your entire life sitting in front of a computer to grow old. It is not healthy. Go out, smell the fresh air! Meet people! Experience other culture. I don’t have vices like smoking nor drinking. Maybe that is the reason why my organs are fighting to be strong. They are not giving up on me because I took care of them most of the time.
Embracing the truth, your weakness can be your strength.
Yes, Lupus is a very complicated disease that might lead to death. What are the symptoms? Mostly are joint /muscle pain, alopecia (hair loss), fatigue, photosensitive, and Raynaud syndrome. But not all Lupus patients have same symptoms. Only a Rheumatologist can tell. This now explains why I have been in back therapy for five years. Before I thought I was getting lazy to do some house chores as I feel so tired and would like to sleep all day long. As a Lupus patient pain will always be constant to us. The hardest part of it is waking up in the morning. The pain is so much intense after we sleep. It was a challenge for me on how to go to the office without being late or calling sick. But instead of being depressed because of this sickness, I stood up, accepted it and told myself. “I may have Lupus but Lupus doesn’t have me!” So, I joined Lupus support groups to learn more, spread awareness and encourage my fellow “Lupie” to keep on fighting. Maybe this is my new task in life… God knows how strong I am that is why I have this. To spread Lupus awareness through my life! Even though I am in this fight every day, I still manage to be one of the perfect attendance awardee for quite some time. I have been awarded as the most energetic on the recent Zumba event organized by our HR. I joined a test program where doctors are trying to find cure. I am like you fighting an endless battle as long as we live. Our difference is that I am physically, mentally and emotionally challenged to be strong every day. Imagine how far you can go, knowing how lucky you are living physically healthy. If I can do it, you can do more! I would like to use this opportunity to say thank you to my friend, Rocel de Mesa. She was the first person whom I spoken of the truth. She was brave enough to talk to me and became my prayer warrior. I may not be able to get through all of these without her powerful prayers! Also, I would like to thank my team mates and my superiors for supporting me. We might have difficult challenges in life, but these challenges should not let us give up our dreams and happiness. Keep on fighting… keep on going!