I was diagnosed with Lupus on July 9, 2011 at age 39. My Lupus was discovered after a year struggle with a rash on my face that was spreading to my neck and chest in addition to battling migraines, fatigue, joint pain, shortness of breath, and excessive sweating. Initially, I thought there was medical treatment, a magical pill, a needle filled with a miracle drug that I could take to get rid of Lupus. I was quickly informed that Lupus has no cure; it’s a chronic illness I will live with for the rest of my life until a cure is discovered
I was determined not to let a chronic illness dictate my plans for the future; I refused to admit that my busy lifestyle and attitude were hindering my chances for a long, productive life. Dealing with chronic anemia, constant joint pain, migraines, a butterfly rash ( along with scarring) on my face, and depression it was becoming painfully obvious that I was running my body into the ground; realizing I was fighting life, instead of living it. Thus, I made it my top priority to start living well, despite lupus. The steps I took to regain my health and wellness I’d lost are outlined in my blog, I also shared my journey, pain, fears, and tears by utilizing social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & You Tube) putting a “face” to a little known disease and have kept it “real, raw, & relevant”. Re-evaluating what’s really important, acknowledging stress triggers, and a new approach to diet and exercise, are just a few of the monumental, courageous steps I took to reach my goal of living well, in spite of lupus.
I’m determined to share with others everything that has made me the strong woman I ‘am today. Overcoming the stigma of being a teen mother, survival of a 3 year abusive relationship, sexual assault, and now Lupus; I’ve realized that God gave me those tests so that I could have this testimony. At diagnosis, it was my beliefs that I had been given a death sentence, I now realize that Lupus has given me LIFE & PURPOSE. It is my firm belief that if you take something that has negatively affected your life and turn it around into something positive, it hasn’t beaten you.
“MY NAME IS ALTONIA FOWLER-DUGAR – AKA – THE LUPIE CHICK – I’M LIVING WITH LUPUS, CHANCES ARE YOU KNOW SOMEONE THAT IS LIVING WITH LUPUS TOO.”