Before we jump into the actual steps I did to go lupus-medicine free, it is important that I discuss the necessary shift in the mindset you must have before undergoing your fight/transformation.
“Lupus is an untreatable, life-long disease.”
How many times have you heard everyone from the medical profession say this? How many books have you read telling you that the only treatment for lupus are immunosuppressants, including chemotherapy drugs. I’ve been on steroids, immunosuppressants, Plaquinil, blood thinners, antibiotics, blood pressure meds. At one point, I’ve memorized many of the names of the different kinds of antibiotics available in the market: ciprofloxacin, augmentin, ceftazidime, meropenem, levox, ampicilin, amikacin, nitrofurantoin. All these and more I’ve taken in the last year alone.
I may not have it the worst among us, but hey, I’ve had my share of organs hit by lupus: liver, kidneys, spleen, spinal cord (transverse myelitis), brain (I had one day of delusion and memory loss, which I can’t remember much of the details about because they kept it hush-hush from me, so I was in a state of confusion for a few months. “Did I go mad?! Am I mad?” Until I just learned to let that day go.), circulatory system (vasculitis), blood (extreme anemia), etc (can’t remember the rest). And if “spirit” is an organ, lupus attacked my faith and spirit too.
There came a point in my life, this was during the extreme anemia, that I felt I had nothing to live for. I felt tired of living. All I felt was my failure. All I felt was trying, trying, trying, getting some success, only to fall on my ass to another flare.
And yet there were people who believed in me, there were people who still wanted me to live, there were those who still saw value in me. Theirs were a light that shown bright enough so that I was able to see my own light. And I want to do the same for you. Lupus is not the end. Lupus is not a losing battle, and the first thing you have to do is:
Believe that lupus is something you can cure. Believe that our God gave us a body that can heal. Believe that actions produce results. You must want to get better. You must believe it’s going to happen.
Put this on your phone, read it every day when you wake up and before you go to bed, and pray for it every day.
I had my turning point many times before, and there were plenty of false starts there, a lot of falling back to a flare and getting hospitalized. But the one that hit home was a conversation with my mom last Sept 12, 2015. I wanted to go to my college blockmate’s yearly September meet up, but I was counting on my parents for a ride to get there. At the time, they couldn’t bring me there. And my mom, bless her, I know she’s coming from a place of love, told me when I insisted I go there on my own, “Hindi mo kaya. Mahina ka at hindi mo kayang lumabas mag-isa. Dahil madidisgraya ka pag-punta doon.” (You cannot do it. You are weak and you can’t go out on your own. You’ll get into an accident going there.)
WTF, right? I didn’t get angry with my mom. But that was the last straw. I’m 28 already. I’ve already lost 6 years of my life. I graduated from the best university in my country, I know I’m smart. I learned to walk again. I kept my bonds of friendship strong, people still believe in me. ( And you will have your own reasons: your children, your husband/wife, your family, whatever it is that drives you to still get up and fight every day).
And this is it? This is going to be the story of my life? Hell no.
I remember very clearly, how I was standing at the doorway of my mom’s room and trying to hold back my tears while telling her, “Oo, tinatanggap ko na hindi ako malakas ngayon, na mahina ako. Pero tandaan mo na hindi ito ang katapusan ng buhay ko. Hindi lang ito ako. Hindi ako papayag na hanggang dito lang ako”. (Yes. I accept that I am not strong now, that I am weak. But know this, this is not my death sentence. This is not what I amount to. I will not accept that I will only go this far.)
Looking back, I needed to hear that. That was the right time. Yeah, six years was what it took to get here. I do not look back on those years as “wasted”. Those years were necessary to equip me with enough maturity and strength of character to get me from Point A to Point B and I’m positive I can sustain this. The final straw may be longer or shorter for you, but you can make a choice now.
Check out the other parts of this series: