As an active, driven 23-year-old, my life came to an abrupt halt with a devastating diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE, causing debilitating joint pain and organ complications. Being led out the door with a brochure in hand, my head spun.
For the next decade, I pushed my disease aside as much as my body allowed and lived the life I’d always envisioned… Earned my MBA, married the best guy :), had two beautiful, rambunctious boys, and rose the corporate ladder in healthcare marketing.
Behind the scenes, however, my life looked much different. I was on high dosages of steroids to “manage” unpredictable flares of painful joint pain, fatigue, and heart and lung complications.
The steroids provoked a degenerative bone disease, resulting in multiple surgeries, leaving my husband to care for a laid-up wife and chase around toddlers.
Pushing through autoimmune disease flares and debilitating symptoms with intense medications for over a decade, I struggled to meet the demands of my career and home life. The stress and unhealthy habits exacerbated symptoms and put me in the hospital, recovering for weeks.
I knew something had to change, or I wouldn’t survive this disease. I did what I could during my recovery. A journalist at heart, I researched potential disease triggers, attempting to discover anything exacerbating autoimmune disease activity.
Conflicting messages about diets were confusing, support groups were discouraging, and resources were either annoyingly generic or unrealistic for most people.
I did, however, discover that we have more control over our health than we’ve previously understood. While there’s still a lot to uncover, we’re learning more than ever about how to better care for ourselves while navigating autoimmune diseases and most importantly, how to improve our quality of life.
Thanks to Invigorate team members, mentors, ambassadors, and other supporters, we’re providing Invigorate: a central place of vetted resources empowering people to make small changes #Oneaction at a time.