People often wonder why I use the catch phrase, “It Is What It Is, “well the “It” is a BIG word in my life, it may be small in appearance, but for me the “It” is God and His plans for my life, my acceptance of this disease that society labels me as “a person with a disability,” and my decision to not allow it to define me.”
I was born healthy, and into a large loving Southern family in North Myrtle Beach, a tourist city located in South Carolina along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by the love of my grandfather, parents, siblings and a whole bunch of sweet old Aunts, Uncles, and cousins who were like brothers and sisters to me, I grew up happy and fearless. In 1980, when I was fifteen years old, my life drastically changed. My 47 yr. old father died suddenly from a short battle with lung cancer, and later in the year my mother suffered a devastating and crippling massive stroke at 49 that rendered her paralyzed on her right side. In between these two life–changing events I was diagnosed with SLE Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, but not before I was taken to the brink of death. When I look back on my journey to now and see how my mother and I became disabled (PwD’s persons with disabilities) within months of each other, that is where I see God’s hand at work.
Before I was finally diagnosed with lupus, my family had been taken on a wild roller coaster ride of possible other conditions. It was 1980 and this disease was fairly new to doctors and the symptom categorically perplexing. We were told I had AIDS, then a rare form of cancer, followed by another diagnosis of a rare form of tuberculosis. My local doctor was stumped, so much so that after a few more diagnoses that did not pan out; I was left to die at home. There I was, barely sixteen, weighing 85 lbs, with my family making plans to bury me…
Follow me on this blog as I share the rest of my journey from that scared, dying girl to my living testimony today. You’ll also hear from one of my best friends who is living with MS and how we find hope and laughter in our lives.
Stay tuned and be blessed,