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Fearless Lupus Warrior

BLOG - HIDDEN WARRIORS:
Fate whispers to the warrior "You cannot withstand the storm."
And, the warrior whispers back, "I am the storm."

Recovery Begins with You

Taming the Wolf in the Storm

 

 

Fearless Lupus Warrior
by Laura N.


[Photo Credit: Victor Ng]

She is a natural born leader, leading those who wish to follow

She is an educator, activist and an advocate, teaching people to not only to advocate for themselves but others

She is a trainer, training only those who wish to be trained

She is a peacemaker, spreading hope and joy to those who surround her

She is a community organizer bringing people of all ages, race, gender, ethnicity and walks of life together

She is a philosopher and a writer, always thinking of the greatest quotes and stories

Call her "The Queen of Quotes"

She is her own case manager, always gathering new resources and managing her own life

She is an integrative health and wellness promoter, sharing personal experiences to empower people in all walks of life

She is a model, empowering people to look within themselves for strength and power

She is a feminist, motivating women of all backgrounds, age and gender to be confident and comfortable in their own skin and allowing them to voice their opinions

She is a true fighter, always preparing for war with the wolf inside her

She was given a second chance in life because she is strong enough to live it

She is the beginning of life and the end of life

Throw her into the woods with the wolves and she will come back leading the pack

She is Recovery in Action

 

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Blog: Hidden Warriors

Fate whispers to the warrior "You cannot withstand the storm." And the warrior whispers back "I am the storm."

Recovery Begins with You

- September 22, 2017

Many people say I look great. I don't look sick. I don't need help. I'm just thinking too much. But do they really know me? Do they really know what my life is like every day? The answer is no. They just see my image. My face and my body. Have you ever woken up and forgotten everything about your life? I share with you my story. My life struggles and triumphs. My recovery. How hope and faith have been the driving force of my life...

I suffered from a chronic condition; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). SLE is the most severe type of lupus, which affects the immune system and causes inflammation in the joints, skin, heart and kidney including eyes and brain. As a result, I have daily limitations as to the amount of work I can handle due to symptoms of SLE, such as physical exhaustion, a higher chance of infections, rashes and problems with blood circulation. In addition, SLE also impacts my mental health and wellness leading to depression and anxiety. I can tell you more but I won't.

Since my diagnosis at age seven following a stroke, my loved ones have been overly protective of me and told me that I should not continue into post-secondary education and that I could not become independent because of my chronic mental health conditions.

However, their discouragements and disapprovals created I completed my Master’s program in social work at the University of Washington and started working for 2 years with people with disabilities. I am on the committee for the Lupus Foundation of America and I am active in my community and volunteer every year to assist Chinese immigrants in voting. Currently, I am a Peer Specialist Intern at one of Washington's top hospitals. My job as Peer Specialist Intern is to provide support and encouragement to those struggling with behavioral health and substance use disorders. These accomplishments not only led me to become stronger mentally, but also inspired me to achieve my aspirations, goals and dreams. I can understand shame, fear and acceptance. Having SLE and mental health challenges has taught me to persevere my dreams, transforming me into a stronger and more independent woman I am today.

Recovery to me is a life long journey that requires commitment and dedication. I know I’m in recovery when I am able to get out of bed pain-free and perform my daily living activities. Staying in recovery means changing unhealthy habits into healthy habits, such as eating an anti-inflammatory diet, yoga and mindfulness, attending medical appointments, taking the correct dosage of medication on time and some sort of exercise. Recovery all starts with me. What are some ways you know you are in recovery?

 

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Taming the Wolf in the Storm

- November 25, 2017

Who am I? I am Laura Ng. But is Laura Ng my full identity? Am I just made up of letters? These are questions that constantly pop up in my mind. I will never forget that night in 1993 when the ambulance came and took me to the ER. Bright white lights shine through my eyes as if they were taking over my body. My head was bleeding and people in white coats surrounded me. After that, tests indicated a stroke affecting my right side of my brain.

When I woke up, I was told I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; a severe form of lupus that affects all organs including the brain. There is no cure for it. However, there are medications and lifestyle changes to help manage it says the doctor. After hearing the news, my family and I were devastated, torn and didn't know what to do but listen to the doctors. My family and I were in denial for many years and I lost faith and hope in myself. My identity was shattered into a million pieces. I felt broken, depressed and very sick of life. SLE and Depression took control over my life. But you know what, the mind tends to play tricks and games with me. The brain is the most important organ in the body. It controls all the systems so if I took care of my brain and mind, my body will follow. So I wrote every day and kept a journal. I wrote every chance I had because I notice I was forgetting things and important dates like birthdays, school events or doctor appointments. Brain fog or cognitive dysfunction is what the doctors called it. I did all my physical therapy exercise as instructed. I remember growing up, I had to receive treatment at the hospital because I had constant flares every quarter at school. I was always at the school nurse’s office because I wasn’t feeling well. Every time I was at the hospital, I would bring my journal and write down everything. Write out my feelings of anger, frustration and relief. Am I Lupus? Am I just a patient being researched? Why is my body not working? Why do my joints hurt? What was that doctor’s name again? This was not only a learning process but a challenge for me to try to remember everything. What’s going on??

After years of therapy and rebuilding myself, I discovered who I am. I reached out for support and stumbled upon the Lupus Foundation of America. I checked out their website and found a range of information on education, research and advocacy. The first thought that came to my mind, “How do I get involved?” I attended the Lupus Support Group and connected with other Lupus Warriors. I attended the Walk to End Lupus Now last year for the first time and I was inspired to take charge of not only my life but also advocate for others living with lupus.

I am a proud to say that I am a first generation college graduate, a Chinese American woman, an older sister, a granddaughter, a mentor, an advocate, a community organizer, a social worker, a survivor and a warrior. I may not be perfect but I am me. We are so much more than our disease if we look within ourselves. We need to conquer our minds before the diseases conquer us. I am not lupus. I am not broken. I am not sick. I am a warrior, not a worrier.

 

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