I got diagnosed with Lupus, late December 2014. By the time I was diagnosed, it was about four months into my first proper flare, and I couldn’t lift myself to sit, let alone walk. I was in such pain I didn’t think I was able to bear; I’d scream out “MY BRAIN IS ON FIRE!” because it usually felt like that. And I begged to have my toes cut off because it felt like someone held a candle to my feet. It’s difficult to understand if you haven’t experienced it. That’s one of the reasons I try to raise awareness about this cruel disease that ravages you from the inside without cause. I was 24 when I got diagnosed, but since I was 5, Lupus had been terrorizing me with various symptoms, the most dreadful: Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I cannot accurately describe how terrible it was to always have to carry balms and painkillers on my person and to fear cold weather. Now, I have more than painkillers, and probably should invest in my local pharmacies, lol, but I live a life constantly filled with gratitude. I try not to take anything for granted and I appreciate anyone who shows the slightest interest in learning about this condition that scarred me in so many ways, and physically too. Sometimes I catch people staring at me and it usually takes about 2 seconds to remember I have no hair on my head, and I smile at their curiosity.

Then I giggle to myself because I think “Bet you wouldn’t imagine anything like Lupus did this.” But Lupus did and still does take my hair, so I chopped it all off because I refuse to be at its mercy. Life is much slower for me now and that’s a good thing. I keep learning to differentiate what’s important from everything drawing my attention; I cannot afford any form of stress. Some days are tougher than others, but every day, I remind myself I’m not only a warrior because of the battle I fight, I’m also a victor because I win.