So I’m finally doing it. I’ve been saying I want to start a blog for the last umpteen months. And now I’m sitting here in the enormous library at my school. The noise of the clicking and clacking from the keys of my laptop are only rivaled by an occasional sigh from the flustered girl sitting in the cubicle across from me. She seems to be literally on the verge of pulling her hair out. (Finals week) Anyway, I’m excited about this! I really am. I get to share my thoughts and feelings the best way I know how. Writing it down. So here goes.
I’m Terrace. But I’m growing more affectionate of Tee…it’s short and cute. When I was just shy of 26, something unexpected came into my life. LUPUS. For anyone who has this condition or if you love someone who does, just the sight of those five little letters evokes such indescribable connotation. For anyone who may be reading this and is not quite sure what lupus is…join the club. The people who have it don’t really know what the hell it is either. Ha Ha! You can laugh, that was funny. No but seriously, in a nutshell, it is an auto-immune disease. Auto-immune meaning for whatever reason my immune system has gone haywire and is failing to recognize its own parts as…well…its own parts. This can lead to a broad range of symptoms and issues. And there are many other conditions that fall under the category of autoimmune such as celiac disease, diabetes type 1, sarcoidosis, sjogrens syndrome, RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and many more. For a long time after I was diagnosed, I felt lost and confused. Because I knew absolutely nothing about lupus, I was looking to absorb any bit of advice anyone offered to me. Even if they weren’t a medical professional. In the beginning I clung to doctors’ instructions as if they were the most sacred words I would ever hear. The title of this blog Defining Lupus…Defining Me just means that over the last year or so I realized that I do have some influence over the way I feel. So while I still go to my routine doctor visits and take medication daily, I’m now supplementing this with adding more healthy nutrition to my diet, seeking my spiritual awakening, and surrounding myself with beautiful and positive people and things.
One major thing I did in the early stages was axing red meat. And trust me, I’m not saying that with a self-righteous finger pointing at anyone. Truth be told, I wasn’t much of a meat eater to begin with. So for me, it wasn’t a big deal. For a long time I continued eating chicken, pork, fish, and turkey products in lieu of red meat. About a year ago, I met a man who is a “vegan” for lack of a better term. We quickly developed a strong connection and he opened up a world of untapped knowledge about alternatives to meat. Just like starting this blog, trying the world of vegetarianism was something I had been meaning to do for umpteen months. I thought “What the hay!” Having him there was just the inspiration I needed to take the leap.
So my current situation:
no red meat
And before anyone comes running at me waving their flag of dissent claiming a “lack of protein,” I do still eat fish. I also eat lots of beans, peanut butter, and veggies that give protein. So what does that make me? Certainly not a vegan. A vegetarian? I don’t know since I still eat fish. (I’m not even gonna open that can of worms) Who cares. I never cared for labels anyway. Right now I’m just someone who’s trying an altered diet. If it helps me to achieve better health, that’s awesome. If not, that’s okay too.
Since it is therapeutic to get things out of me, I will share a snippet of what my initial experience with lupus was like.
I remember a constant feeling of bewilderment for months. Rashes, body aches, swollen legs and ankles. Some people thought I was pregnant. Some people thought I just had a weird bug that was nothing to worry about. Some people thought I was crazy and this was all in my head. Some people probably still do. For one microsecond in time, I think I thought I was crazy. Piercing chest pain from what felt like a heart attack quickly knocked those thoughts out of my head. I couldn’t be imagining a pain like this. It had to be real. Lying on a stretcher in the local Urgent Care with my dad standing over me attempting to console me was one of the scariest moments in my life. They were telling me I had to be transported to the big hospital to undergo lots of tests. Everything happening around me served to heighten my sense of fear. When I got to the big hospital, undergoing tests lasted an entire week. Within this week I contemplated life. I evaluated all my close relationships. I read. I cried. I slept. I cried some more. And I waited. Waited for labs. At the end of a week, the doctor came and told me I had lupus. “Take care of yourself,” he instructed before ordering a nurse to give me my discharge papers and leaving the room. His words couldn’t be more vague. So there I was. Checking out of the hospital and checking into an alternate reality. Nothing would be the same.
Now that I’ve released some intense thoughts and memories, I’d like to end with some positive vibes. Nobody can be sad listening to reggae 🙂 Til next time. Enjoy!!