It’s time for Fierce Girl Friday! In honor of Lupus Awareneness Month we’re shining some light on phenomenal women doing amazing things who are living with lupus. Today, we want you to me Sheena Chrisite and here her amazing testimony.
Sheena Christie, Lupus Warrior
After 34 years of living, a marriage, four children, and becoming a business owner, I received the most shocking news that I had Lupus. I had never heard of lupus and didn’t know anyone who was affected by it. All I could think about is “how am I going maneuver through life? Is this how I’m going to die? Who will take care of & love my kids as I have? How will this affect my family?” I had been experiencing symptoms along the way but at different times which made it difficult to diagnose.
Symptoms started with what I thought was a pulled muscle in my lower back which resulted in me walking hunched over & unable to stand straight up. Next it came to my wrist and finger joints aching, depending on the position it was held. This led to me needing cortisone shots and basically buying myself more time before the doctor actually connected the dots to diagnose. Lastly, I was required to complete lab work which resulted in me meeting 3 of the 5 criteria for Lupus. I was so hoping she would have good news but only to confirm my gut feeling.
What do I do next?
Why Google of course! I was sure to arm myself with enough information so that would be able to survive as best I could. While the information was very helpful, it was scary to read. Many of the symptoms mentioned, I hadn’t experienced so I thought to myself “my condition isn’t that bad.” As time passed, I started taking the medication. The doctor explained how the medication would help me over time. In addition, I would need to receive adequate rest, limit exposure to sun, take medication, and limit/ reduce stress level.
You must know how difficult this must be with raising kids, managing a youth organization with 30+ dancers, on top of wife duties, my career, and many hobbies. Somehow, they all came tumbling down at once and my juggling had come to a stand still. I became extremely exhausted, sleeping almost 20 hours a day, lack of appetite, fevers, chills, body aches, muscle weakness, and the inability to walk independently. This lasted approximately 3 weeks to get to its worst. I experienced extreme weight loss, hair loss (bald patches leaving me to shave my hair) and skin discoloration (butterfly rash).
Once my husband and mom was able to get me in to see my awesome rheumatologist, she knew exactly how to nurse me back to health. Full recovery was reached after about 5 weeks. There’s absolutely no way I was able to take care of myself. My husband took charge of the things I generally handled with the kids, divvied the kids tasks to complete (which I rarely do), and made sure I followed all of the doctor’s recommendations. I couldn’t dedicate any time to my youth dancers but luckily I had an awesome assistant director.
Thank you to my husband Kenneth Christie Sr, my parents Timika and Deshaun Thomas, my grandmother Gwendolyn Parker, my youth dance organization Beehive Elite, Assistant Director of Beehive Elite Porsha Graham, Rheumatologist Office of Dr. Pooja Patel & Susan Alvarez, & my workplace Ruediger Elementary/ Leon County Schools.