About 20 years ago, in high school I ran track, sprints mostly but I had my schools 4x100m relay and 200m records for a long time. I had my oldest son when I was barely 20, but my symptoms weren’t yet present. I was an active young mother taking my oldest on hikes and adventures frequently.
Then slowly after my diagnosis at age 23, my capabilities became limited. I was more tired, less flexible, more forgetful. My health became more detoriated when I had my second child almost 12 years ago. Not just because of the hormones from a second pregnancy and birth but the stress caused from hiding just how physically and mentally abusive the relationship I was in. 7 years ago I eventually separated from my now ex-husband and the stress was overwhelming. After a huge flare up about 5 years ago I was left in a wheelchair for about a month and then used a walker for at least three more.
Lupus has brought me to the lowest of lows physically and mentally.
Yet still I rise. Every day with determination to make it through the day better than I was before. This woman you see now – I fought hard to become her. I experienced lots of tears, pain and heartache to get here. So when you see me smiling and enjoying the fruits of my labor, I hope it encourages you rather than the brings destructive self talk.
You are just as capable, just as beautiful and just as worthy.
Rosadela Durruthy is founder of She’s Got Lupus, a non profit organization aimed to improve the lives of those living with chronic illnesses by advocating for mental health, healthy living and raising awareness.