Sometimes we need something to give us a little extra kick, nudge, shove, to get to where we ought to be.
That kick, that nudge, and that shove was in a form that I did not expect.
Serving with a Smile, Despite The Pain
From March 10-19, I visited New Orleans on a service trip (...I'll get more into the trip on another post in the future). While on the trip, I developed some pretty vicious chest pains. I thought they were caused by anxiety due to being out of my comfort zone (maybe too out of my comfort zone and I hadn't come to grips with it?). The pains continued throughout the trip with fellow volunteers offering healing prayers for me as well as others claiming the pain came from my Cajun food indulgence.
Fast forward, it's March 28th. My pains had grown so vicious, I could no longer walk and talk at the same time, pay attention in class, couldn't stay awake, and couldn't lay down without feeling like I'm DROWING. The university health services, who saw me twice, were convinced it was Cajun food until a urine test seemed strange.
Long story getting longer, I hit the ER and they find that the sack around my heart is filled with 3 cups of fluid (rather than the 1 tablespoon you're supposed to have). I roll into surgery, am sliced open, and spend over a week in 2 different hospitals.
So What's the Deal?
Lupus. That's it. From June of 2016, I had experienced abnormal blood tests, went in and out of gastrology, and felt increasingly sicker. Why is my hair falling out? Why are my fingers and feet ballooning up? Where is my energy? No answers. So from June to March I lived with constant confusion and symptoms that I simply ignored, as I felt ignored by my doctors.
I swear, everyone told me it wasn't lupus. I heard "autoimmune hepatitis" and "acid reflux" on loop. "It's never lupus". It can't be lupus...
And here I am, with Lupus.
Certainty in Uncertainty
Listen, I don't know if my hair will ever stop falling out. I don't know if my surgical scars will ever fade. I don't know if I will ever live without handfuls of daily medication. I don't know if I'll ever forget the disgusting feeling of a draining tube being pulled out of me. I do know I will always remember March 28th and April 5th (day I was released) as two major days in my life.
And with all that being said..
I have something with me that wasn't there before. Something so rare, so precious, no monetary value can be attached.
I have this newfound and unfathomable appreciation for life and a sense of acceptance for all that comes my way. I had a thumb war with death and disease and I refused to back down.
I will never be able to turn back to the life I led before this procedure. There is no more normalcy. BUT... was there ever in my life?
So...Here's the Deal
I will model and continue down that path until my hair falls out completely (if it cannot be halted). And if it does, I will purchase so many wigs, every day will be a new hair adventure.
I will continue to live so freely and without borders that I will continue to baffle my family and doctors. I have learned that my only border is myself. As long as I am healthy, I will continue to challenge myself daily and seek out all I crave in life.
I will strive to empower women and men to embrace their individualism through style and fashion. I will continue to hopefully motivate others to BE THEMSELVES and to live FULFILLED. I personally would've been pissed if I died from the fluid buildup in my heart and if I did die, I would've died unfulfilled. Now everyday I make sure my life is undoubtedly adventurous and fulfilled. I hope to move others to live passionately and unapologetically.
I hope to show others that even though a person is sick, they can conquer anything and do whatever they damn well please.
I have Lupus but my Lupus doesn't have me.
I bring you the return of Dress to Express
Hanging at the Hospital
Fashion Show Rehearsal -
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