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Day 1: Why I Write About My Health #NHBPM

When I was first diagnosed with Lupus, I instantly took to the internet. I wanted to arm myself with as much information as possible. I was prepared to be over whelmed and immersed in everything regarding Lupus.  I was alarmed by the amount of “repetitive” information that was available. Everything was a repeat and very “ text book” .  I was clear what Lupus is (was), but I wasn’t clear as to how people lived with Lupus. What a day was like for a Lupie Chick .  How Lupus affected friendships/relationships/marriages.  How Lupus affected people’s mental state.  How Lupus affected peoples emotional/physical/sexual health. I had LOTS of questions.  I could not find what I was looking for; nothing was really answering what I wanted to know.  (For me), I needed visual, clear, concise answer(s). Based on the lack of information available, I decided to write from my perspective and keep it REAL & RAW (no sugar coating). If I was in pain I wanted to describe or show pictures of the type of pain or the intensity level of the pain. I was going to show my bare face (without makeup) and talk about the scares, the nasty remarks, and assumptions people make about you when you have an invisible disease. I wanted to provide an outlet for my fellow Lupie Chicks to know that they were not alone and we could cyber space high five each other.
I will never forget my first posting telling the world, I Have Lupus; people were calling me with tears in their voice telling me I had taken them on an emotional roller coaster. I heard from friends I havent from in years (more than 10).  It wasn’t my intention to make anyone cry or become upset, I wrote from the heart.  I wrote as if I was speaking to my girlfriends or family. I’ve found that my ability to be open and my style of writing works for the type of platform I’m building.
I’ve started posting daily pictures of myself saying Hello /Good Morning to my fellow lupies. If I miss a day, people will inbox me on Facebook or text me and say “where is our daily picture?”  I never knew that a simple picture would/could make someone’s day, or provide a little encouragement.  
Not too long ago, I received a mention on Twitter that said “because of the Lupie Chick I know more than I ever thought I could or wanted to know about Lupus and the struggle”.  I don’t know this young lady, never knew that she read my blog or tweets. I received a message from another young lady telling me “because of your blog I now know how to be a better friend “. I don’t get many (any) comments on my blog, and I wasn’t positive if anyone was reading my blog, UNTIL  I get the random messages, text,  or tags of people wearing purple, or mentions of “ The Lupie Chick”.  Just the other day, my hands had swollen and I was in severe pain. I posted a picture on line and a young lady asks “what’s lupus?”  I was in too much pain to type (reply) on my mobile, but I fought through and took a screen shot of the Lupus Foundation page explaining what Lupus is. Even in my mist of a challenge I was able to educate someone on this little known invisible disease.  I’m so honored and humbled to be able to do what I do, and I’m MORE honored and humbled to my readers and audience who help spread awareness.   I know that I will never stop writing, I will never stop bringing awareness, and I will never keep quiet – This is WHY I Write About My Health!
Until Next Time,
Live ~ Laugh ~ Love
Stay Connected
Instagram:@naturally_lupie
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mzSixx
Twitter: @lupieeChick & @AuNaturaleDC

The information included on this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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Celebration of Life (My Life)



Me- 41st Birthday



Yesterday was my 41st Birthday (yes, I’m in my forties honey… I don’t look a day over 30 -at least that’s what a twitter follower told me J lol..lol..) . Yesterday I took the time to reflect and appreciate the wonderful gift of life. This time last year I was still dealing with the diagnosis of Lupus and trying to figure out just how I would live. Besides a flare up and depression, what should have been a milestone celebration (my 40th birthday) was anything but. This year I decided things would be different. I’ve grown to accept that I will forever have lupus BUT Lupus won’t have me. I will NOT stop living. I will (and have) become an advocate and a glimmer of hope for all my lupie sistas who are still fighting. When I awoke yesterday (mainly from Face Book notifications – You guys were on it! Mini me had the first notification at 11:59 p.m. Saturday night), I immediately knelt down and THANK THE LORD for allowing me to live and survive another year-despite Lupus.



My New Grand daughter Mailia Elizabeth Fowler



I’m in a new city (I relocated to Atlanta), I became a grandmother for the 2nd time (hi Malia), my projects and businesses are thriving, I’m happy and BLESSED. I knew I would not sit around sad or depressed on my birthday this year. I was going to get dressed, put on makeup and rock out like only Mz. Sixx can. I decided I would get out of my comfort zone and I would start crossing a few things off my “50 before 50” list.



#My View- after the Falcons beat The Oakland Raiders 23-20



Yesterday afternoon, I attended my first live NFL game yesterday (Atlanta Falcons vs. Oakland Raiders). It was very exciting to sit in the executive suite (hosted by Verizon Wireless). The view was awesome- nothing like watching it on TV. I felt like I could reach right over and touch the players. I could see every move, every play, hear every cuss word (lol) and actually understood what was going on. I felt myself cheering and screaming like a Justin Beiber Fan (sweating out my freshly blow dried natural hair) cheering for the falcons to make a touchdown. For the first time I think this year, I had on my infamous 5 inch stiletto ankle boots, leather legging, and an Asian inspired top. Some of the executives kept touching my pants & rubbing my legs (Saying ummmm ” I like those” looking at me like I was a pulled pork sandwich). If I was conceited I would swear they were checking for me…lol..lol.. My co workers surprised me with a cake, they sung Happy Birthday, and we DRANK LOTS OF WINE ( lol..lol). During half time, the band played the wobble- and YOU KNOW YA GIRL GOT HER WOBBLE ON!!!!!! The cheerleaders did a skit and the players do a chat- and you RISE UP (#ayeeeee) #Go Falcons, it was like a party (or maybe I turned it into one …lol..lol..). Nonetheless, this chica had a ball. Food, wine, good company, and the home team won-made for an enjoyable afternoon.



Me-Rocking my Leather Leggings



It felt good to get out-breathe fresh air- and celebrate MY LIFE… MY WAY! The celebration hasn’t stop and it won’t stop (in my Diddy voice.. “Won’t stop..Can’t stop”). I made a vow to myself to live MY best life and KEEP THE CELEBRATION GOING!!!!!!
** please peep the #purpleEverything #LupusAwareness-EVERYDAY**



The infamous Bathroom Pic ( in the Executive Suite @ The Georgia Dome)



Until Next time fam,
Live.. Love.. Laugh..
The Lupie Chick TM

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Twitter @AuNaturaleDC & @LupieeChick
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31 Days of Lupus Awareness Facts



Lupus Awareness Month is observed during May to increase public understanding of this unpredictable and potentially life-threatening disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans. Here’s today’s important fact about lupus.

May 1: Lupus is an unpredictable and complex autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and can damage any organ in the body with life-threatening consequences.

May 2: Ninety percent of the people who develop lupus are female. Males also can develop lupus and their disease can be more severe in some organs.

May 3: Lupus develops most often between ages 15 and 44. However, between 10 and 20 percent of cases develop during childhood and these cases can evolve more rapidly into serious health complications.

May 4: In lupus, something goes wrong with the immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs. The result is the production of autoantibodies that causes inflammation.

May 5: Some people have genes that allow them to develop lupus. Factors that may trigger lupus in these people include infections, ultraviolet light, extreme stress, certain prescription drugs, and certain hormones.

May 6: Many symptoms of lupus mimic those of other illnesses, and symptoms can come and go over time, which makes diagnosis more difficult. Consequently, lupus can take three to five years or more to diagnose.

May 7: There is no single laboratory test that can determine whether a person has lupus. Diagnosing lupus involves analyzing the results of several lab tests, a review of the person’s entire medical history, and the history of close family members.

May 8: Lupus is treated by a rheumatologist, a physician who specializes in conditions affecting the joints and muscles. Some people with lupus may need additional care from specialists, like a dermatologist for skin problems, a nephrologist for kidney disease, or a cardiologist for heart complications.

May 9: More than 90 percent of people with lupus will experience joint and/or muscle pain that can be disabling. Medication and mind-body therapies can be used to help control the pain associated with lupus.

May 10: Lupus can be an expensive disease. The average annual cost to provide healthcare for a person with lupus is $12,643, and rises to nearly $21,000 when lost work productivity is included.

May 11: African Americans, Hispanics/Latinas, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans are diagnosed with lupus two or three times more frequently than Caucasians; however, lupus affects people of all races and ethnicities.

May 12: Successful treatment of lupus often requires a combination of medications. A new treatment for lupus was approved recently, and nearly two-dozen clinical studies are underway to develop a full arsenal of treatments.

May 13: As many as 80 percent of people with lupus experience fatigue. For some, fatigue can be debilitating, even to the point of forcing them to stop working.

May 14: People with lupus are usually encouraged to engage in appropriate daily exercise in order to maintain muscle and bone strength. Care should be taken, however, to balance exercise with rest.

May 15: Systemic lupus is the most common type of lupus. Systemic lupus can affect any organ system of the body, including the heart, kidneys, lungs, blood, joints, and skin.

May 16: Discoid lupus (the most common form of skin lupus) accounts for approximately 10 percent of all cases of lupus and occurs in 20 percent of those with systemic lupus.

May 17: Drug-induced lupus is a lupus-like disease caused by taking specific prescription drugs. The symptoms usually disappear after these medications are stopped.

May 18: Women with lupus are at increased risk for loss of bone mass (osteoporosis) and are nearly five times more likely to experience a fracture.

May 19: Blood disorders such as anemia (a low number of circulating red blood cells) are common in lupus, affecting about half of all people with active disease.

May 20: People with lupus should eat a nutritious, well-balanced, and varied diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and moderate amounts of fish and lean meats. Lifestyle adjustments should always include quitting smoking, as tobacco products can cause flares of lupus symptoms.

May 21: More than 80 percent of people with systemic lupus will experience some type of nervous system complication, ranging from mild confusion or memory loss to strokes, seizures, and vision problems.

May 22: The malar, or “butterfly” rash on the face is present in about one-third of those with systemic lupus. This flat, reddish rash across the bridge of the nose and cheeks, is often the only visible symptom of this form of lupus.

May 23: As many as 40 percent of all people with lupus, and as many as two-thirds of all children with lupus, will develop kidney complications that require treatment.

May 24: Only 10 percent of people with lupus will have a close relative who has lupus or may develop lupus, and only five percent of children born to a mother with lupus will develop the disease.

May 25: About 40 percent of people who were originally diagnosed with cutaneous lupus, which affects only the skin, will go on to develop systemic lupus that can affect any organ in the body.

May 26: Neonatal lupus is a rare condition that affects infants of women who have lupus. With proper testing, physicians can identify most at-risk mothers, and the infant can be successfully treated before or at birth.

May 27: Lupus is not contagious and cannot be “given” to another person. Lupus is not like or related to HIV/AIDS or any other infectious disease.

May 28: With current methods of therapy, 80 to 90 percent of people with non-organ threatening lupus can look forward to a normal lifespan.

May 29: Advancing technology and better understanding of the disease have improved pregnancy outcomes. Today, 80 percent of women with inactive lupus can have successful pregnancies.

May 30: Most people with lupus are able to continue to work. However, some people may require modifications to their work environment and schedules, such as flexible work hours, job-sharing, and telecommuting.

May 31: Today people with lupus are leading healthier lives and living longer than at any time in history, thanks to researchers who continue to discover more about the underlying science of the immune system.



Click Here to Learn more about Lupus

Click Here to donate to team Lupie Chicks in the 2012 Walk for Lupus- Baltimore MD – September 29, 2012

Click Here to Join Team Lupie Chicks in the 2012 Walk for Lupus- Baltimore MD – September 29, 2012

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May 11th Lupus Awareness Fact

May 11: African Americans, Hispanics/Latinas, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans are diagnosed with lupus two or three times more frequently than Caucasians; however, lupus affects people of all races and ethnicities. Lupus can be an expensive disease. The average annual cost to provide healthcare for a person with lupus is $12,643, and rises to nearly $21,000 when lost work productivity is included.



Click Here to learn more about Lupus

Click Here to Donate to Team ” Lupie Chicks”

Click Here to Join Team Lupie Chicks at the Walk for Lupus in Sept 29 at Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD

aloe vera, au naturale, bananas, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut water, curl defining, lupie chick, lupus, miss sixx, mist, natural hair, natural hair styles, potassium, Rihanna

Coconut Water ~ Health~ Skin~ Hair

I have been struggling with maintaining proper potassium levels due to Lupus and some of my medications. The muscle spasms, drowsiness’s, and extreme thirst was too much to deal with and painful ( imagine the worse Charlie horse you’ve ever had then magnify that feeling by 10). I didn’t want to have to take another pill ( supplement) and I’m not a fan of bananas ( a great source of potassium), I sought the advice of my doctor as to what I could do naturally to bring my levels up.

He provided me with a list of good sources of potassium including fresh fruits, vegetables, shellfish, beans, wheat bran, salad, nuts, cereals, meat, and dairy foods. Then he told me about Coconut Water { insert O_o } is that like coconut oil?? Coconut milk?? I’d never heard of it. What is it??

Coconut Water a clear liquid extracted from green coconuts is low in fat and calories, has no cholesterol, and has a natural balance of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium- making it a healthy electrolyte drink. Coconut water is rich in potassium: a typical serving offers 569 mg, which is almost twice the amount in a banana.

The amino acids, potassium, and magnesium that make these tonics such a stellar sip also do wonders for stressed-out skin. You can use coconut water as a facial “mask.” Just apply to your skin and let it rest for 5-15 minutes, then wash off. Otherwise you can use it daily to wash your skin. Coconut water not only cleanses, it also tones your skin. If your skin is oily, you can also add grapefruit or pineapple juice to the coconut water, for added benefits.



Coconut water comes in many varieties ( and price points) and is sold everywhere from grocery stores, specialty markets, to Sephora I had imagined that it would taste like one of those fancy drinks you see people drinking while vacationing in a tropical paradise like Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean. I saw many celebrities pictured drinking coconut water so I thought, yeah… this is going to be good.

Rihanna

I went to Sam’s Club and purchased a case for $15.99.
NOW BEFORE YOU ALL RUN TO SAM’S
STOP….WAIT…. PAUSE…
HAVE A SEAT AND FINISH READING THIS POST
I could NOT drink it- everything I read said it was a ” delicious, cool, and refreshing ” LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That stuff hit the back of my throat and BABY… EEERRRYYYYTHING I had previous digested came up and out!!!!!!! It’s a taste I cant describe except (IMO) it tasted like a mix of high octane gasoline with a subtle note of coconut.  ( YUKE!!!!!) I have a case of this stuff- and I WASNT GOING TO LET IT GO TO WASTE- what’s a girl to do??

The mixologist in me created a (natural) Coconut Water Curl Refesher!!!!!!!!

Recipe: Coconut Curl Quench
1 (can/box) Coconut Water
1/2-1 can (Goya) Coconut Milk
2-3 table spoons of Coconut Oil
2-3 table spoons of Aloe Vera Juice/Jelly ( which ever you have on hand)
 (optional) couple of drops of Vitamin E

Pour  everything into a spray bottle, shake to mix all indgredients. You can use  this as a curl refesher or if you need to mist your hair before/during styling/twisting/braiding this is perfect!!!!!!

I will have to seek an alternative method for taking in more potassium. because I cant stomach the coconut water, but my hair LOVES IT!!!!. ** Guess I better start with banana smoothies**

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Today’s Look- Flat Twist Out

Todays Look

Flat Twist Out

To achieve this look:

  • Co wash hair ( I used  VO5 moisture milk Strawberries and Creme Conditioner)
  • Detangle Hair
  • Apply Coconut Oil ( all over pay special attention to your ends)
  • Spray hair with diluted Lotta Body Setting lotion ( 50/50 mix of Lotta body and (rose)Water)
  • Flat twist hair going back ( spray hair as necessary with Lotta Body to keep it wet )
  • Allow hair to air dry over night ( you may also sit under the dryer)
  • apply coconut oil ( or oil of choice) to hair ( before you unravel twist)
  • ** optional: I keep my bonnet on while I’m taking a shower so that the steam can help loosin the twist **
  • unravel twist
  • fluff/separate twist with fingers
  • ** My hair has been cut into layers. This haircut allows for my twist to ” automatically” fall into place. **

Disclaimer: These images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Mz. Sixx. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration (digital, artist rendering or alike) is a violation of the United States and International Copyright laws. All images are copyrighted © 2012 – Au’Naturale by Mz. Sixx

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Loving The Skin I’m In

People with lupus know the disease can affect various parts of their body, both inside and out, in a variety of ways. Though lupus is known to affect the joints, kidneys, heart and lungs, more often than not, one of the clearest signs that a person has developed the disease is the way it affects the skin.

Lupus had (in my opinion) had taken my beauty. My face was on display for everyone to give me that side eye and saying ” what the heck happen to you??” Although my family and friends assured me that I was beautiful and it was “ok”- I felt like that ugly duckling. A dear friend of mine ( First lady of Blue Line Productions – Rana) sent me a message one day that read ” I miss your pretty face”. She was referring to not seeing me out and about at local functions in the DC metro area, I started balling- because I literally MISSED MY PRETTY FACE! I’m 6″2 and wear 5 inch stilettos ( well I use too, until lupus started affecting my joints and my feet- damn him!) and I would walk in a room LIKE I OWNED IT-( at least like I paid the light bill..lol..lol..)- then came the red sores, the black scares, and the discoloration in my face- and my obsession with Dermablend!!!!! I would pack that stuff on like my life depended on it. I was hiding… and worse of all- I hated the skin I was in……

** wearing full coverage Dermablend makeup **



My physician gave me a referral to see Valerie D. Callender, M.D. to assist with my skin condition

Dr. Valerie Callender is an internationally recognized Board Certified Dermatologist, who is known for her expertise in Pigmentation Disorders and the medical and surgical treatment of Hair Loss in Women. Dr. Callender has written twelve (12) textbook chapters and many articles for academic journals. She has recently co-edited a textbook on the Treatment for Skin of Color



Dr. Callender office is located at 1220 Annapolis Road, Suite 315, Glendale, MD (301)249-0970. Her office offer a range of facial treatments, cosmetic procedures, & body treatments. On my appointment date- the office was PACKED! The ladies at the reception area were very nice and & courteous. My wait wasn’t as long as I expected ( I waited maybe 15 minutes before I was taken to the examination room). Dr. Callender’s assistant took a quick assesment of my medical history, and my concerns. 10 minutes later enter in Dr. Callender herself. We chatted a bit, she tried to lighten the “mood” ( I was very tense and nervous). As soon as Dr. Callender put on her gloves and started examining my face, the tears started to flow. She immediately stopped and comforted me. She continued her examine, speaking in a calm voice and re assuring me that all was going to be ok. I advised her what I had been doing, what products I’d been using, and just blurted out ” I hate the way I look, I don’t look good and I don’t feel good”. We discussed treatment plans, and she tried to assure me that she would help me. She asked me to trust her- she told me SHE WOULD NOT GIVE UP – MY SKIN WILL BE CLEAR AGAIN! At the end of the examine, I ask- ” what makeup brand would you recommend for me?” she looked up at me ( dead in the eyes) and replied ” NONE- when I get through, you wont need makeup!” ** what did she just say.. I wont need make up … whoo freakin hooooooo!!!! let the treatment begin!!!!** {insert laughter from myself and Dr. Callender}

Below is my daily routine prescribed to me by Dr. Callender ( she actually wrote this down for me- including the steps!!!!)

** yes, my clarisonic is PURPLE in honor of my daily fight with Lupus**

~AM~

Cleanse (w/ clarisonic brush & Neutrogena Forming Face Wash)

SPF 70 ( all over face)

apply hydroquinone (4% strength) to dark spots ( using a qtip)

optional: apply makeup

~PM~

Cleanse (w/clarisonic brush & Neutrogena Foaming Face Wash)

Apply thin layer of Differin Gel ( all over face)

apply hydroquinone (4% strength) to dark spots ( using a q-tip)

I have been following this routine for 4 weeks. Look at me now!!!!!