#HAWMC, au naturale, lupie chick, lupus, miss naturale, mz sixx, natural, natural hair, spoonie, support, Uncategorized, womens health

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 I felt inadequate, isolated, and withdrawn from family, friends, and the MC/SC community.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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au naturale, aunaturale, lupie chick, lupus, miss naturale, mz sixx, natural, natural hair, womens health

Day 1 #HAWMC Why I Write

HAWMC_2012_dayprompt-1

I am super excited to be taking part in the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge which is being hosted by WEGO Health! The entire month of April will be dedicated to sharing our stories as well as educating and raising awareness!

Day 1 #HAWMC Why I Write

Initially, I had a blog relative to natural hair. I LOVED talking about natural hair, and offering advice & tips as to how to care for natural hair. Au Naturale by Mz. Sixx was my baby. I had gained followers, was getting offers from companies to host giveaways, & meetups – I was on to something. In 2011 Lupus creped his ugly head into my life. I could no longer keep up with blogging, attending social events and was lost as to what was happening to my body. After being diagnosed, I was stumped as to how I would tell my friends and family I finally had a reason for the scarring on my face and the extreme exhaustion. I took to my blog and posted Hello-I’m A Lupie Chick.

That was the first time I had actually said the words “I have Lupus”. Wow, the response was overwhelming as most of my friends and family was not educated or aware about Lupus. The inbox messages, text, emails began to be too much. First, blogging about Lupus was a “relief” and a way that I could provide my friends and family with updates. There were moments when I felt like I was complaining or no one was reading. Months had gone by without any posts, because I didn’t want to burden my followers with my Lupie Chick issues. I started to receive tweets stating that they were about Lupus because of my blogging and interactions on social media. There were a few people in my life who suffered in silence and they were speaking through me and the blog. WHAT A BURDEN THAT WAS FOR ME TO CARRY. Additionally, I was still posting on the natural hair blog. It was too much, What if I said the wrong thing? What if I felt like saying F*uck it-would I offend someone? Would I receive hatful messages because someone didn’t like my post? How can I keep up the pace with informative content on two blogs?  I came to realize that I’m human; I’m not a robot that you can switch off and on. I don’t have to blog daily or weekly. I have feelings, emotions and a voice that I refuse to silence to spare anyone else’s feelings.

In March of 2013, I combined both blogs- Au’Naturale by Mz. Sixx and The Lupie Chick = Naturally Lupie.  I write to be a voice and a face to a little known invisible disease. I write in a conversational way….my grammar isn’t always correct, I occasionally use slang and or profanity-not to get attention, but because that how I speak to my friends or that’s how I’m feeling at the time. I didn’t want my blog to be a text book encyclopedia type of blog. I didn’t want my blog to be a repeat of every other natural hair blog. I wanted my blog to tell the struggle and be a pillar of strength for the weak and weary. My blog is the little thing in your head saying “yes you can and YOU WILL”. I’ve always been loud and in your face type of person (some say obnoxious)-I’m not the whispering type…so why start now? Mister (my Lupus) is loud and obxinous too- when he wants attention he show up on my face and my hair. He has tried his best to take my beauty and silence me. Most recently, I’ve had to cut all my hair off aka Big Chop the day before a huge event I was hosting to celebrate women, as a result of a Lupus flare (talk about loud and obnoxious). The hair loss has left me bald around the edges and nape of my head. I posted about it on Instagram w/ pictures, and guess what- I received 36 comments where other Lupies have or had experienced the same thing.

THAT’S WHY I WRITE; to speak up and not suffer in silence or alone. I have had moments where I had no idea what to write and felt like I had no meaningful content left to offer. I have had moments where I’ve felt completely inadequate to try to offer hope to readers when I felt so helpless myself. I have had moments as recently as this weekend when I’ve felt like I physically didn’t have anything left to give. But I do- I have LOTS more to give and I will continue to write- not only for you but for ME!

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

aunaturale, blogger, Instagram, lupie chick, lupie chick project, lupus Awareness, mz sixx, wego, youtube

I was nominated for a Health Activist Award!!!!

I was nominated for a Best in Show: Community Award by Wego Health for
The Lupie Chicks
Please help endose my nomination Click Here: 

 
my URL is http://thelupiechick.blogspot.com/ or naturally_lupie ( instagram) takes 5 mins to vote!
 
Voting will end on December 31, 2012
 
Help me continue to bring awareness to Lupus one chick at a time!!!!
 
 
Twitter: @lupieeChick
 
Instagram: @naturally_lupie
 
 
Email: lupiechick@gmail.com
 
**click link above to be directed to team page**

healthcare, lupie chick, lupus, lupus Awareness, lupus foundation, neurologist, NHBPM, research, rheumatologist, web md, womens health

DAY 2: Advice For A Newly Diagnosed Lupus Patient #NHBPM

Being diagnosed with lupus can bring about a flurry of emotions. You may feel upset or nervous about what the new diagnosis means for your future. You may be angry at the idea that your life may change. You may even feel happy that after some time of not feeling well, you finally have a name for what was ailing you. Finally, your condition has a name. Each of these emotions is normal, and no reaction is the right one. In fact, you may feel all of these emotions at some time or another.

But beyond your emotional reactions, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. Below are some tips for moving forward after being diagnosed with lupus.

1. Get a second opinion. Before you begin your journey into chronic health care, you want to make sure you are heading down the right path.

I didn’t get a 2nd opinion when I was first diagnosed. My dermatologist originally diagnosed me (I had the butterfly rash across my face, and lesions on my neck and under my breast). After she performed her examination she was “certain” it was Lupus and referred me to a rheumatologist & neurologist who ran additional test and confirmed that I had Lupus. Honestly, that was the best day of my life. It answered a lot of questions and FINALLY I KNEW that what I was experiencing wasn’t my imagination. After getting over the initial shock, I was ready to battle & WIN!!!!!

2. Bring a friend or family member to be an advocate for you. You may need to have some tests done and see many doctors in the beginning. Having someone else there to take notes, ask questions, or just be an emotional support is very important. It is normal to forget a question, or not remember important information after a doctor visit. It is also great to have a supportive person with you who can hold your hand, distract you, make you laugh, or just listen.
I have never had a friend or family member come with me to any of my appointments (well my husband has attended 2 or 3 ). There were times when I wanted “support” and then there were times when I was happy I was there alone. From my experience, I have found that when people don’t understand what is happening they can be very judgmental. Going through the motions and of trying to come to grips with everything- JUDGEMENT WAS THE LAST THING I NEEDED OR WANTED!

3. Start a notebook or a folder for your healthcare. Take notes and ask for copies of your test results. Take time to actually read your tests and learn what they mean, or ask your doctors. Keeping a record now is a great start. It’s always a much bigger job to back track and get records that you may need in the future. These records and notes can be helpful when you’re seeing multiple doctors, dealing with insurance companies, applying for disability, etc.
Yes, yes, yes!!!!! I started experiencing a “brain fog” and I would literally forget what someone told me only minutes previous. It’s imperative that you keep records and minimum keep notes or download one the apps on a smart phone that will store your medical records and or notes for you. I remember an incident when my rheumatologist  had prescribed me a medicine that counter acted something the neurologists prescribed me, I ended up with massive migraines and I wanted to die (I was in that much pain). Once I gathered everything out of  my cabinets, purse, and night stand, I  went back to the doctor, showed them everything I was taking, and they figured out exactly what the culprit was. From that point forward I have kept impeccable notes and I always keep a record of my prescriptions ( dosages, strength, etc).  

4. Do your research. After being diagnosed with lupus, you will soon hear all kinds of words that you may not have heard before. Names of medications, secondary diagnoses, and symptoms can be overwhelming and scary. A great way to combat this feeling is to learn as much about lupus as you can and get yourself familiar with the lingo. This will help empower you in conversations with doctors and nurses. When you know what they are talking about you can ask appropriate and necessary questions. WebMD is a great place to start on your quest to educate yourself. There are many articles, posts, and videos on the site that are very informative.
I can’t say this ENOUGH!!!!! DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH!!!!!! I’m often asked for advice relative to Lupus. While I appreciate strangers, family & friends comfort level to ask me for advice ( treatment, & diagnosis), I refrain from giving medical advice. It’s not that I don’t care or I don’t want to share information, I’m NOT A PHYSICAN. Legally I cannot provide medical advice. I’m more than willing to share what has/hasn’t worked for me, but that information should not be used in place of a diagnosis or treatment plan.   I have this disclaimer at the end of every post 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. I encourage all of you to always consult with a physician before starting/stomping any Treatment plan, Nutrition (eating) regime, and Fitness plan. If you are looking for information and or support, outside of speaking with your doctor, I HIGHLY suggest that you become a member of the Lupus Foundation of America Chapter (in your state). The Lupus Foundation of America offers symposiums, teleconference calls, empowering events and the largest support group network.

5. Ask questions!!! Do not be afraid to ask questions, even questions you deem silly or unimportant. If you feel any kind of change in your symptoms, tell your doctor. I cannot stress this enough. You are a partner with your doctor in your healthcare. You need to take an active role. You are the only person who knows your body best, so if something feels off, say so.
You have to be your own advocate and cheerleader in this fight!!!!! No matter how minor the question may seem, ASK IT!!!! Make no assumptions!!!! Make sure that the doctor/nurses are listening and providing you with the approriate answers. You must be active and aggressive in your treatment  plan !!!!
Tips Provided by Web MD  ( my responses are highlighted in purple)

Until Next Time,
Live ~ Laugh ~ Love
 ¸.· ´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
(¸.·´ (¸.·’   The Lupie Chick
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.