“Vegan? So you eat what they had in the garden of Eden?” LOL this was probably one of the funniest comments I got when I told those close to me that I decided to be vegan. Over the years I was put on multiple diet plans to health improve my health. The diets I would be put on would work for a short period of time, but then my body would become immune to it and I would have to change. Since Lupus is an autoimmune disorder, I’ve always had to be careful about what I put in and on my body. From the beginning my doctor told me that I had to stop eating certain foods to get my health under control. Needless to say, I was pissed lol. No more pasta, fried foods, no sweets, no NOTHING! Even with all those changes I still noticed that I would be sick after eating certain foods. So during my third year in college I decided to become vegetarian. I did my research and found all the benefits of the lifestyle. Again, I noticed how my body reacted to it and how I started to feel better but still not where I wanted to be health wise. I did that for two years and decided to take it a step further and become vegan. I did more research on countries that don’t eat meat or any animal products. I saw how their bone health was muchbetter than individuals that drink cows milk, along with many other interesting findings. Since I’ve been vegan (May 2013) I have dropped 30 pounds, my skin is clearer, I have less frequent flairs, more energy, and I take less medication (Thank GOD). There are many benefits to going vegan. I know many individuals say they can’t do it because they just don’t want to give up meat. I didn’t think I could do it in the beginning because I love cheese too much, but when it comes to my health I will do anything. I will go into more detail later of everything I eat and how I prepare my meals. Also how a Raw Vegan diet is even better (I’ll save that for another post as well).
When it comes to Lupus, it effects everyone differently. No two people experience this illness the same. When I was diagnosed I knew nothing about, never heard of it, and just didn’t know what to think. Weeks after being diagnosed, my doctor gave me more news. Along with Lupus, I have arthritis, osteoporosis, alopecia (sudden loss of hair), panic attacks, eczema, uncontrollable mood swings, and the list goes on.
As you can see I deal with a lot on a daily basis. Over time I’ve learned to manage all these symptoms, but it is still not easy to deal with. Some mornings it can take me about twenty minutes to an hour just to get out the bed. This can be for many reason but it’s usually because my legs are so swollen I have to brace myself to stand on my feet. If I move too fast my legs will let me know. It is very frustrating sometimes not being able to do the simple things, like brush my teeth because my hand hurts to bad to hold the brush. Thankfully, every day isn’t like this. I’ve learned over the years to listen to my body and to not push myself to hard (even though I still find myself being hardheaded and paying for it later). I’m learning more about myself everyday and how to stay healthy physically and mentally. Everyday is a challenge for me but I still do it with a smile on my face, even when I don’t feel like it. That wasn’t always true during this journey, there would be days that I was so tired from the pain that I became depressed. Never showed it to others but once I was alone that all changed. I would sit in my room in the dark, just to avoid being around anyone so they wouldn’t know I wasn’t feeling good that day (in high school and college). I would be so depressed from the pain that I would lay in the bed for days at a time. I wouldn’t eat and would sleep for hours. I suffered from low self-esteem at one point due to the constant shift in weight, along with the scars on my body left from needle injections and rashes. My hair constantly fell out in chunks leaving me with just about nothing. I felt like no one understood what I was going through or even cared to know. Once the depression became too much to the point of me withdrawing from loved ones (and even considering hurting myself), I did the only thing I knew to do. I started praying more. I would literally be laid on my floor (or in the bed if it hurt too much to move) flat on my face, crying out for help. I was tired and ready to be healed. I’m glad to stay that even after all this, I am stronger than ever.
First I would like to say thank you all for the overwhelming response I’ve gotten so far. I love you all and it is very much appreciated. Any who, for those of you that don’t know Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs. Well what does a butterfly have to do with this? One of the most common symptoms of Lupus is something called a butterfly rash. It is literally a butterfly shaped rash that forms across the bridge of the nose and the cheeks. Other common skin disorders develop from this as well causing more damage in certain times of the year. The reason I decided to use the name “WE ARE BUTTERFLIES” is because I feel as just as anyone else, I have transformed and blossomed in this journey. Butterflies also have a very spiritual meaning as well. When dealing with butterflies in a spiritual stance, they tend to symbolize:
- Powerful transformation, metamorphosis in your life, personality
- Moving through different life cycles
- Renewal, rebirth
- Lightness of being, playfulness
- Elevation from earthly matters, tuning into emotional or spiritual
- The world of the soul, the psyche.
Many don’t know that I would cry myself to sleep at night due to all the physical and emotional pain i would experience. Trying to manage work, school, and my health took a huge strain on me. No one ever knew for the simple fact I would put “my happy face” on for the world to see. Even those closes to me didn’t know something was wrong unless I told them. Well I’m so glad I have grown and now past pains have become the most beautiful stories to inspire others.