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488252_10151145642073809_749906445_nI  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, https://lupiechick.wordpress.com. 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.”

Altonia  is a loving wife, mother, grandmother, mentor, member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and a member of The Order of Eastern Star (OES), graduate of Phillips Jr. College, and Phillips Business School where she majored in Jr. Accounting, Business Management and Entrepreneurship. A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, Altonia currently resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband Anthony, daughter A’Yianah, son Amihr, and Maltese (dog) Kirby. Feel free to contact her at lupiechick@gmail.com.

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