Blessings everyone, thank you all so much for the love and being followers to my blog, I absolutely love it! You all are allowing me to live inside my God-sized dream.
Before lupus, I was a normal teenager. I had many friends growing up. Three of them, Martha Ann Moore, Barbara Grissett, and Lendra Keel made up our little quartet that was connected by the innocence of childhood dreams, high school aspirations, and a simple joining of hearts. Martha and I had plans to become airline stewardesses, but God had other designs for all of our lives. We embraced high school together and in the 1979-1980 seasons, Martha Ann and I were part of the North Myrtle Beach High School Marching Band as flag girls. I remember the outfits; white boots, shiny blue shorts and vests with white ruffled shirts that were cute and matched our outgoing personalities. Twirling the blue and gold flags high in the air, we were just kids enjoying the attention and the awesome memories being made. Barbara was the comedian in our group and thought being in flags was not for her, but she was always there cheering and making everyone around her laugh. I think of those days and the agility I had, the simple acts of holding the flag pole, running, and marching in step are memories I visit fleetingly, no time to dwell on what was lost. “It Is What It Is Now”
And just like any other teenager, I had to work to enjoy my extra curriculum activities, so in the summer of 1980, a few months after we buried my father, I took a job as a server at the Howard Johnson’s Oceanfront Hotel. One of my duties was serving ice cream near the pool to the summer tourists. I remember going into the large freezers to fill up my bright yellow cart with an assortment of popsicles, snow cones, push-ups and other treats. The frigid air was like a balm to the blazing Carolina sun on my skin. But, after a few weeks Mama notices I was still having chills long after my shifts were over. I also had a runny nose, felt feverish, and had painful body aches all over. In a month’s time I went from having what we all thought was a simple cold to being swollen all over, achy joints, and massive hair loss, I mean all of it went and then miraculously grew back, but in soft, silky black hairs even on my face. I looked like teen wolf for a while, I later learned the “wolf’s bane” was a symptom of lupus. This Web MD video (2016), highlights the variety of symptoms associated with my disease.
My doctor was more than perplexed at the rapidly changing symptoms, and during that time since not much was known about lupus, he did the best he could. The numerous tests and misdiagnoses was all he could do. I had turned into a zombie long before the Walking Dead was popular. I recall staring into space thinking I was dead; not eating, hallucinating, and not even talking. As summer drew to a close, I did not return to school. The days were melting into mindless madness for me, I saw, and imagined crazy things all around; I hurt so much everywhere I could not rest. So I stayed still, lying in bed or staring outside our living room window for hours at a time. My friends came to visit often, I am sure they were as confused as everyone, but they still came.
I will always remember that, just as I will always remember when Mama, in the midst of my battle, suffers a massive stroke, one that the doctors would later tell us was a “death stroke.” Yet, she survives and the journey we both take from that night is the purpose of my existence.
Stay tuned and be blessed,