I have talked a lot about my thirteen year battle with metastatic Breast Cancer and it often overshadows my fourteen year fight with Lupus. You see, it was my diagnosis with Lupus just after Mackenzie was born that eventually lead to my Breast Cancer diagnosis just a year later. May is Lupus awareness month and I want to take this opportunity to shed some light on this disease.
A large part of my battle is very closely related to having Lupus. Lupus is what is considered an “invisible disease”, often not having any outward symptoms for onlookers to notice. Despite the invisibility, Lupus is a very real and often debiltating disease. When someone is diagnosed with Lupus, an unknown trigger has caused their body to begin to attack its own tissues. This creates major inflammation in the body and can have a damaging effect on the organs depending on the individual case. There is no known cause or cure for Lupus. Treatment often consists of medications and methods to reduce the inflammation within the body, therby reducing symptoms.
After having a difficult pregnancy with Mackenzie, my Lupus was finally diagnosed. As part of the course of treatment a breast reduction was suggested to help lessen my pain and symptoms. This consultation lead to my Breast Cancer diagnosis within 24 hours. Lupus has been a complication in my cancer fight, making my partial masectomy surgery longer and more arduous than planned. Lupus paired with my initial round of chemotherapy damaged one of my kidneys so badly that I have not been a candidate for additional surgery for over 13 years. Lupus has created a barrier within my body that the chemo has to try and get through in order to reach the cancer cells. More recent experiemental chemotherapy drugs that I have tried are supposed to help reduce the role of Lupus and allow the chemo to actually target the tumors.
1.5 million Americans have Lupus and at least 5 million world wide have some form of Lupus. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 44. I will be continuing to share information about this disease throughout the month. I have chosen a path of whole food and holistic remedies to help lessen my inflammation and symtoms with Lupus. Please visit the Fab’s Vegan Eats section for anti-inflammatory recipes and our Tricks and Tips for holisitic healing suggestions.