I was a health nut who studied Nutrition and Physical Fitness. I was in my last year getting a Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy and thought I had everything figured out. I planned my days, weeks and years and was a go getter, classic Type A twenty something woman who was popular and voted best dressed in her class.
Always focused, health conscious, and disciplined. I truly believed I was doing everything right from being vegan to exercising. Health was a part of who I was.
Life came to a screeching halt
It was a sunny spring day, March 11, 2000, I was studying for school midterms when a rash became a hive all over my body.
So began my health crisis.
I was in and out of the hospital with mysterious symptoms including debilitating fatigue, pain, severe rash all over my body, hair loss so bad I had to resort to wigs, with growing list of medications for over 8 months before I was finally sentenced for life with Lupus.
I couldn’t plan, continue school, couldn’t work, became a recluse, and fell into a depression.
There was no internet to “google” anything, no answers, no support.
Was rejected by my then boyfriend’s family and told I would barely live 10 years by the Doctors in his family.
All my friends were thriving in their careers, getting married, and I felt like I was slowly dying.
LIFE ON MY TERMS
Life is full of jagged edges. Lupus was one sharp edge that I had to own. Against medical advice, I was able to have a safe pregnancy and have my son, Brandon, pictured here with my first Rheumatologist at Loma Linda University.
When a woman becomes a mother, she becomes fearless. I had to muster up courage to stay healthy as possible for my baby. I was on top of the world as a new mom, I couldn’t believe my good fortune, I was overwhelmed with joy until Lupus struck hard and threatened my kidneys with severe nephrotic syndrome.
I had to abruptly stop breastfeeding and go on chemo and high doses of prednisone for a couple of years.
The Doctors sat me down and said no more babies. Before chemo, they warned me that pregnancy was risking my life and warned me not to think of having any more kids.
Making Impossible – Possible
I wanted so much to give my son a sibling. I got busy getting healthy again. I took up Pilates and Yoga and committed to creating a business helping other women just like me to recover from chronic disease.
I thought if I did that, it would hold me accountable to everyone I was helping. So I began working on a business plan to open a wellness center.
In the midst of this planning, I got pregnant with my second son and he was just as perfect as his brother. My Doctors called him the miracle baby because the risks were high.
Then 8 months postpartum within months of opening my wellness center, I spiraled into another Lupus flare involving my kidneys.
I was scared but the love for my boys kept me fearless. I became obsessed with healing. I took up Yoga, changed my diet, and applied Functional Medicine into my life.
My Lupus was easier to tame as I shifted my body into balance once again.
I believe our body’s miraculous power to heal itself. All we have to do is to create optimal environment for our body to flourish and thrive.
Since the Lupus diagnosis 19 years ago, I am healthier than I’ve ever been in my life.
I realize how limited my understanding of my body was back then. I understand how my health spiraled out of control. While I thought I was making healthier choices, they weren’t the right choices for me.
I never felt “healthy”, I struggled with fatigue especially after exercise, I always wondered why. While I was vegan, I now know that the food choices were very toxic to my body.
Today, I’m much more tuned into my body. I practice being in my body, enjoying its miraculous nature, and strive for balance within.
Healing is an inside job. Once you understand this, everyone can begin their journey to healing. Self acceptance, self care, and self love are a huge part of this process.
When given the diagnosis of Lupus, most of us give our power away to the Doctors who tell you that Lupus is an incurable disease.
Shifting from Sick to Health mindset
Medical community instills in us the limiting beliefs about our disease that carry over to our lives. I meet so many Lupus patients that defend their disease. The problem is that they believe that they are Lupus.
What we are not told is what we can do everyday to create health and healing. While Lupus is incurable, you can absolutely HEAL from Lupus.
If you believe you can, if you believe you can’t you’re right.
I’m so happy you’re here. No matter where you are in your journey with Lupus, I want you to know that I’m on the same path.
I understand the struggles, challenges, and the fears that you have.
I want to help you to reveal the good in the bad, find strength when weak, and use Lupus as a stepping stone to be the best version of yourself.
It’s been a long and tumultuous journey but that’s exactly what I do everyday that got me to where I am today.
Remember, you have full control over your life with Lupus, so exercise your power and live your life to the fullest.
BA in Psychology
Masters in Public Health Nutrition
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner
Registered Dietitian/ Licensed Dietitian
National Certified Pilates Instructor
Registered Yoga Teacher 500 HR.
Women’s Health Physical Therapy
Founder of Functional Yoga Medicine