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Day 2: #HAWMC 5 Ways to Fight Like a Girl For Lupus

Sometimes when dealing with chronic illness, you’re inner you says FIGHT, the outer you don’t know how or where to begin. It can all be a tad bit overwhelming, and at times confusing. Below are my top 5 tips to FIGHTING LIKE A GIRL FOR LUPUS!

lupus2Step 1: Acknowledge It!

First we have to acknowledge that we have an illness before we can take a step in any direction. Though symptoms of Lupus differ, people with them are united by the denial, anger, fear, hope, and acceptance and other feelings they bring. At diagnosis, feelings of grief and loss had consumed me. I felt that Lupus was restricting me from the things I enjoyed; no longer able to attend cabarets (because of the loud music and the migraines), it was summer, and I was unable to attend barbecues, crab feasts, or hang out at the beach/park with my children and grandson. I felt inadequate, isolated, and withdrawn from family, friends, and the MC/SC community. A month into my diagnosis, I took to YouTube and posted a video. Instantly, when I acknowledged my disease, and stop acting sick, people stopped treating me like I was sick!  I buried my grief-stricken feelings, and haven’t looked back!

imagesca53ej72Step 2: Claim Your Power!

Ask yourself a question. Are YOU ready to “Fight Like A Girl”? By claiming your power you pledge to stand strong and fight against Lupus. You declare that you have a power within that will help prevail against weakness and that if by chance we fall while struggling to stand we will not feel guilty but reach out to our Lupie sistas & brothers for help! I pledge to do all this and believe we can because we have claimed our power!

lupus4Step 3: Find Your Social Media-Family!

We are not alone! There are 1.5 million lupus survivors in the United States. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have hundreds of different groups and pages dedicated to raising awareness and support for Lupus. On Facebook, you can do a search (in the search box) for the keyword Lupus. A list of Lupus support groups & pages should appear. On Twitter and Instagram the way to find someone is to search for a hashtag mentioned in a tweet/picture post. All the people who have used those hashtags will appear-you simply “follow” and most will “follow back” Some of the common hastags to search for are: #lupus, #LupusAwareness, #spoonie, #butterfly, #ChronicIllness, Together we share our pains and sorrows, our joys and pleasures. Whatever we experience we can learn to share it and fight it together!

lupus.1Step 4: Become an educated Patient!

Whenever I get a new symptom, like a rash or chest pain, I say to myself, “Its Mister (aka “my Lupus”) begging for attention. No need to worry. No need to check it out. It’ll go away in a few days.” At times, this is probably true. But more often, a new symptom needs to be evaluated and perhaps treated so it doesn’t become a life-threatening event. I will post on one of the support groups that I belong too and/or I will turn to Google. It’s imperative to our health that we become “hands-on” patients and educate ourselves. As patients we cannot just depend on our doctor to tell us everything. We have a responsibility to our health and well-being to do our own research! Find out the current medical news, keep a food/illness diary (this helps to discover what foods trigger symptoms-check out this app), look up alternative medicines, talk to other patients and find out what works for them. Some great Websites to visit are: Lupus Foundation of America, WebMD, MayoClinic.com, John Hopkins Lupus Center, Alliance for Lupus, NIH, and Life with Lupus.

lupus3Step 5: Sharing is Caring!

You’ve heard it before: “It takes a village”, “Two heads are better than one”, Each one can reach one! So reach out and help someone else begin the journey to overcoming Lupus. It can be scary, but 9 out of 10 times, there is someone who can relate and/or has experienced something similar to what you are dealing with. Together we can stand strong!

The informational content of this article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
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antidepressant, aunaturale, awareness, blogger, depression, Facebook, Instagram, lupie chick, lupie chick project, lupus, lupus Awareness, lupus foundation, medicine, spoonie, stress, Twitter, zoloft

Not The End Of Me


Not The End Of Me
Who am I?
I don’t know…
Had I become that person I so despise?
My thoughts
Deep, dark, and unrecognizable
Who am I?
Did I just give up?
Given up on life, love, my passions, and everything in between
Who am I?
A cry baby
Weak
Distorted thoughts
State of confusion
Broken Spirit
Negative
Shaken
Stirred
Who am I?
A silent voice and distant eyes
That no one hears my cry’s
Who am I?
Drowning in the depths of sorrow,
with no tears left to cry.
Who am I?
© The Lupie Chick 2013

I’ve been was battling depression for the past 6 months. A lot of stress triggers has occurred with my relocation to Georgia, my employment, my health, and a multitude of other things. I leaned heavily on my sister- friends that keep praying for my recovery and strength to come out of this dark space. I was having uncontrollable crying spells, insomnia, panic attacks, nightmares (when I would finally sleep) and just an overall feeling of failure. I wanted to die. In my opinion, my spirit was already dead. I was in a very dark mind space and I couldn’t see my way out. While at one of my doctor visits, the doctor was asking me questions and I just looked up at him (as if I was possessed by a demon) and blurted out “I really don’t give a fuck right now.. Whatever you want to do is fine with me, I’m ready to go” I stood up and WALKED OUT, crying as I left his office. Later that evening I received a recorded call from Kroger pharmacy telling me my prescription was ready. [Insert demonic look and gas face] “What damn prescription?? I figured it was a wrong number and I ignored the message. 2 days later I received the recorded call again, I was in Kroger ( at Starbucks) and figured I would go over there and tell them to stop calling me ( they were using my day time minutes and I don’t have any to spare). When I reached the counter, the pharmacist acknowledged that I did have a prescription and it was ready. 
ME:  “YOU CAN KEEP IT- I HAVE NO INSURANCE & NO MONEY!”
Pharmacist: “Ms Dugar your cost is $4 and if you have Kroger points I can reduce that to $2” Me: [face twisted and annoyed] fine [mumbling and grumbling]
Pharmacist: Please step to the counseling window
ME: Continue face twisting/mumbling/grumbling
Pharmacist: You have been prescribed Zoloft. Zoloft is known to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and panic disorder. This medicine is an antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
ME: [insert, hand on hip, pissed off stance] so what exactly are you saying because I didn’t ask for this?
Pharmacist: Ma’am you may want to call your physician, this prescription was called in
ME: Yeah, I’ma call him [pulls out phone and call doctor office]
After calming down a little and speaking with my physician, I now understand that his prescription wasn’t an insult to my mental stability; it was care, concern, and very well NEEDED! My physician began to tell me he sensed that I was stressed and I was displaying signs of depression. After finishing up the call, I went home, got on the Internet to do additional research.“Between 15 and 60 percent of people with a chronic illness will experience clinical depression. This may be brought on by lupus, by the various medications used to treat lupus, and/or by any of the factors and forces in a person’s life that are not related to lupus. For reasons that are not entirely understood, this type of depression is often experienced by people with chronic disease.”Lupus Foundation of America
 I encourage anyone that exhibits any of the following to consult with a physician.
·  Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
·  Sadness
·  Crying (often without reason)
·  Insomnia or restless sleep, or sleeping too much
·  Changes in appetite leading to weight loss or weight gain
·  Feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, or irritability
·  Feelings of guilt or regret
·  Lowered self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness
·  Inability to concentrate or difficulty thinking
·  Diminished memory and recall
·  Indecisiveness
·  Lack of interest in things formerly enjoyed
·  Lack of energy
·  General slowing and clouding of mental functions
·  Diminished sexual interest and/or perfor­mance
·  Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
I’ve exhibited 15 out of the 16 signs above. As a friend or a family member- please do not assume that a person is having a pity party or just “need to get over it”. There were moments I wanted to die, and a friend response to me was “oh Sixx, come on now, you’re having a pity party”. Depression is very serious and HARD to overcome. I’m not 100% recovered (even with the help of Zoloft).  I take it day by day-sometimes-minute by minute. When I say THANK YOU [to my my inner circle]-it’s not just 2 words. I know I have a praying circle around me-and you’re prays has kept me covered. [ praise & testimony]
  • Between 15 and 60 percent of people with a chronic illness will experience clinical depression.
  • Clinical depression may be a result of the ways in which lupus physically affects your body.
  • Some of the medicines to treat lupus—especially corticosteroids such as prednisone (and at higher doses of 20 mg or more)—play a role in causing clinical depression.
  • Clinical depression may be a result of the continuous series of emotional and psychological stressors associated with living with a chronic illness.
  • Clinical depression may be a result of neurologic problems or experiences unrelated to lupus.
  • Clinical depression also produces anxiety, which may aggravate physical symptoms (headache, stomach pain, etc.).
  • Two common feelings associated with clinical depression are hopelessness and helplessness. People who feel hopeless believe that their distressing symptoms may never improve. People who feel helpless believe they are beyond help—that no one cares enough to help them or could succeed in helping, even if they tried.
 Keep in Touch

Twitter: @lupieeChick
Instagram: @naturally_lupie
Email: lupiechick@gmail.com
Atlanta, aunaturale, autoimmune, awareness, challenge, cupcakes and Cocktails, death, dermatology, Facebook, headache, immune system, Instagram, life, lupie chick, lupie chick project, lupus, spoonie, Twitter, walk

Farewell Mishinda


Yesterday morning I was contacted by the aunt of one of my blog followers. I was taken aback by the call, as I’m super busy finalizing details for my upcoming event (Cupcakes & Cocktails). The caller sounded unsure as to whom she wanted to speak with.  As I waited to try and catch the voice she asked if she could speak with “The LupieChick”. I paused as I knew this was a Lupus related question as no one refers to me as the Lupie Chick in conversation. I acknowledged that I was the person she was looking for and she began to tell me about her niece, Mishinda. 
Mishinda was 26 years old, mother of 2, and had passed away from complications of Lupus on Sunday, February 24, 2013. I instantly felt my heart break (literally, I had a pain in my chest) as she began to speak about Mishinda. It pains me to hear stories of anyone lost their fight with  Lupus. Funny thing, she didn’t sound sad. She was laughing and telling me how Mishinda loved my blog and my willingness to just say whatever I wanted. Her favorite post was Am I Being A Bitch Or a BabyWe laughed as I was slightly embarrassed by the title of that post. Mishinda referred to me as a pistol whipper (lol…lol…). She commented that she looked forward to my daily pictures of me smiling (I haven’t posted any pictures of my face in a while, as I’m going through a flare up and have the butterfly rash across my face) and my reference to Lupus as Mister. 
Then, she suddenly  her tone of voice became serious. She stated that Mishinda asked her family to find me and get in contact with me because she wanted to speak to me. “ME????? “  Was my reply, as I never had any interaction with Mishinda? The family tried feverishly to find me, finally coming across my Facebook page, in which has my phone number listed. She asked me if I would attend the candle light virgil on Friday night to honor Mishinda. — INSERT A PAUSE AND A LUMP IN MY THROAT—ME????  Ya’ll know I have a fear of public speaking. She replied- YES, we would like you to come and speak. I told her that I’m not a medical professional, I refrain from giving medical advice, and I can only speak about my experiences and my desire to bring awareness. Her reply: “BE YOU – BE THE FUNNY LUPIE CHICK THAT MISHINDA SO LOVED AND ADMIRED” [insert uncontrollable crying]. 
After I stop crying, and contacted a few friends, as I was unsure if I should attend. I questioned my ability to speak publicly (I have a MAJOR fear…. stomach is in knots RIGHT now as I think about it), I questioned what would my presence bring, can I meet Mishinda’s expectations or the families expectations, what would I stand up there and say??, sweating, stiff and straight like a statue with nothing coming outta my mouth?? [Oh my!]. All my friends encouraged me to do it and to let God guide my words. I realize the honor and blessing. I pray that I can deliver and fight through this fear.  I will attend the candle light service, and honor my lupie sister Mishinda the best way I know how. I can hear my siStar now “Sixx, You better werk hunty” (lol…lol…lol…) DO THAT!!!!!
Fam, I write this blog with no hidden agenda. My ONLY agenda is to share my life, and my experience with Lupus. I have no idea the number of people with whom my blog had inspired, made laugh, cry, or angry but I’m grateful to each and every one of you. Mishinda has encouraged me to continue to push, fight, and advocate for all Lupie Chicks. I NOW realize that Lupus is my ministry. It’s my duty to be a voice and a face for the invisible disease. Please keep me prayed up as I enter this new chapter of my life. #LupieChicksUnite!!!!!!!

Twitter: @lupieeChick
Instagram: @naturally_lupie
Email: lupiechick@gmail.com