My Story

Everyone has a story.   Everyone has a reason and a purpose for who they are today.  Recently my good friend David, posted about sharing your own story.  And asked “are you writing your own story.”

For me that is a loaded question.   I was diagnosed with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis when I was 21.   I went from being energetic and pain free, to living every day with pain and living one day at a time.   At 21 being diagnosed with two auto immune diseases wasn’t easy, but was a relief to figure out why I was hurting all the time all of a sudden.   Convinced the doctors to test me for lupus, you see my mom has lupus too.   I don’t in any way shape or form blame her for this, it was what God wanted and the life he wanted me to live.   Lupus is one of those unique disease where there isn’t one set treatment and cure all approach.  Its trial and error.

Lots of trial and error.

I honestly can’t even remember how many different medications that I tried.   I know at one point I was taking 30+ pills a day.   Not all lupus medications, but medications to deal with the side effects of each other.  I looked like I could run my own pharmacy.   At this point I was in college, trying to earn my degree in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics.   I worked three jobs, so I could pay for college and the things I needed.    Being recently diagnosed with lupus, going to school full time, and basically working more than full time was rough.   I never had energy, the lupus was winning.   I lost almost all my hair but the tiniest little tuft of hair.   Imagine being 22 years old, and losing all your hair!  I had to wear a hair piece, and not one knew that is what happened.  The only one that knew was Nikki, because she is my best friend and knows everything about me.  How I cried every time my hair fell out, and the realization that it was all from the lupus.

I don’t know how I did it but I still was able to get my degree, little did I know that the worst part of my lupus wouldn’t come till after I graduated from college.  Then sh** would get real and fast.

After graduation, I got a job as an Electrical Design Engineer.   Holy Crap, that was my dream job and I some how landed it! Things were great at first, I wasn’t perfectly healthy but better than previous months in college.   Then things started getting worse…….  It started with a staph infection.   It wasn’t treatable by your normal antibiotics, I had to have IV antibiotics for a month! Blood clots, not just clots in my arms or legs, but in my lungs.    I think in my life so far I have had three PE’s (pulmonary embolisms), and 4 other clots in my arms.   Then my gall bladder decided it needed to explode, and got my pancreas sick.   My retina detached for no reason what so ever, thankfully they did emergency surgery and were able to save my vision, yes I know I am blind as a bat now, but I can see with my contact lenses.   Let’s not forget the excruciating migraines, whether they are caused by the lupus or medication side effects I don’t honestly know.  I also have had strep throat so deep in my throat I ended up in the ICU, they were worried I would stop breathing.  I would get migraines so bad I couldn’t see, and only see polka dots.   Then there would be the times, that my lupus was so mad that my hair hurt.   All of these instances usually ended me up in the ER or the hospital. I was on a first name basis with the staff and they knew me, who I was and what needed to be done.   (Only because they had asked me how to treat lupus, scary right?)  My doctor gave me a handicapped placard, so that I could get around easier.  Do you know how embarrassing it is, to be 23 and have a handicapped placard, because you can’t walk?!?!?!  My whole situation was embarrassing for me, I should be able to do the things I couldn’t.

At one point my job was upset because I was missing so much work, I was chronically ill, kind of hard to deal with it and the possibility of losing my job.   I decided that I needed a change in my life.  I applied for a job in Denver, yes that would have been a hell of a drive from Colorado Springs, but it wasn’t terrible.  I got the job and started work in Denver, loved my new place of employment, and being able to design satellites for a living, HECK YES!  After commuting for four or five months I decided to just move to Denver.

At this point in Denver, I was still sick.  If you look at my employee profile picture from when I first started with the company, I didn’t look healthy.   My hair was still ridiculously short.   And I would still get randomly sick for no reason, oh wait it was the lupus, grabbing me by the throat saying….”I have you”

A friend of mine from work, JC, decided it was a good idea to convince me to start working out and train for a Tough Mudder.   Haha  How am I going to do a Tough Mudder, when I can barely walk!?!? But I said why the hell not.   My good friend Shannon and little brother Alex, were by my side for the endeavor of a lifetime, and whole world of well damn I need to make some changes hit me during that race.   Let’s be honest if it weren’t for Nikki and her mom at the top of the mountain with the maracas and cheering me on, I don’t think I would have finished.   My little brother pushed me to get to the finish line.  And for him I am beyond thankful.   I was in tears at the last obstacle, Everest.  I knew there was no way I could run, hell walking was a task at this point.   My knees were the size of my thighs, and I was crying.   Still to this day, I cry when I think of this story.  Why??? THIS WAS THE START OF MY STORY.   My brother told me “big girls don’t cry, let’s cross the finish line.”  We crossed that finish line, and although I hurt like never before, it was different.   I cried and was happy beyond belief that I had finished this crazy race.

And it drove me to want and be healthier.   I wanted to be able to run that race and not hurt.   Hell I wanted to be able to not hurt period.

Its been a hell of a journey these past 5 years.  I changed my lifestyle, and eat healthier now.   I worked out, some say too much, but I know its right for me.   Working out, racing, and running is what saved my life.  I was in a bad place when my lupus was bad, how could one not get depressed about living EVERYDAY in pain, and taking the days that you didn’t hurt as bad as your good days?  Now my good days are when I hit my PR’s.    Although small, they are huge for me, because I look back and see what I used to be.   I was letting lupus win, and trust me it was kicking my ass.   Now however, I am ahead and there is no way in hell that lupus will ever have me again.

I race and workout and feel great.  Yes, I have my bad days.   Not like everyone’s bad days but they are my bad days when everything is just pissed off and I listen and take it easy that day.  But they are so few and far between, that it doesn’t happen often anymore.  I can’t wait to see where my fitness will take me  and the healthy life ahead.  That’s right I am healthy.  You know why?? I am no longer on the 30+ medications, and no they didn’t get me to this point by changing them.  Eating healthy and exercise got me here.

This is my story, I was once the girl who could barely walk or get around,  and now (as many refer to me) I am the crazy girl who loves racing, running, burpees, and crossfit.  Never did I imagine I would be where I am today but never will I go back to where I used to be.

 

 

Picture time line fun!!

On the left 8 years ago…..and on the right me two weeks ago:

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When I first started work up in Denver

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First Tough Mudder, yep crying tears of joy for actually being done here.

 

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Smiling at races, that’s how I live my life now.

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2 Responses to "My Story"

  • You are AMAZING and I love you beyond words

    1 Elizabeth Jameson said this (March 26, 2015 at 2:28 pm) Reply


    • love you too mom !

      2 lupuscombat said this (March 26, 2015 at 2:44 pm) Reply


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