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WHOS' AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WOLF

WHOS' AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WOLF

"Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf?"

(My Lupus Journey)©

There was a Walt Disney cartoon (boy, I’m telling my age!) named “The Three Little Pigs”. Most of us know the story of the three little pigs and the wolf who wanted nothing more than to have himself a yummy pork roast! We also know that he almost succeeded twice but was ultimately defeated on his third try with bricks and fire. However, in this particular version, there was a song that said, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf”. This song laughed in the face of this dangerous animal who was determined to fill his belly. The wolf destroyed the first 2 pig’s homes and sent them running to the home of the third pig. However, at the third home, he was met with an obstacle that wouldn’t fall so easily. As a matter of fact, The third one sent Him running. Now you may think, “What does this story have to do with Lupus?”,

I will tell you…

SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) or Lupus (Wolf) as it’s more commonly known, is a chronic disease that currently has no cure and can be devastatingly debilitating. In essence, your immune system, which is supposed to protect you, becomes confused, and everything that it's made to protect, it tries to destroy: Heart, lungs, kidneys, hair, skin, etc. Many times before the diagnosis is made, the person has already suffered from the effects of Lupus, and the effects are great. Besides the obvious physical toll that this disease takes, there are other victims of this disease, a social life, income, relationships, goals, etc. Every area in your life is affected. When a person has to face the reality of beginning a “new” life, the task can be daunting at best, and crippling at it's worst.

I had a certain picture in my mind, of how my life would look. After graduating high school, I would go to college, have a great job, get married, have children, and take care of my parents when the time came. However, after my second year of college, those plans drastically changed, starting with my mother. She had breast cancer that was extremely aggressive, and I decided to take off a little time from college to help her. My proposed semester off turned into over a year because she never got better until she passed away on her birthday in 1993. Then a little over a year later, my father passed away, which left us having to raise my nephew (who had special needs). My picture changed drastically but I imagined a new one.

I decided to go to Cosmetology school, which would allow me the flexibility, to go to court for my nephew, take him to be tested and cared for and placed in programs made to help him have a good life. Once I received my cosmetology license, I found a job and became a successful stylist. That was great until 2000. I started noticing that my hands, my shoulders, and legs, were stiff every morning. I would wake up and could hardly move and when I got home from work, I couldn’t get out the car for at least twenty minutes. In spite of the pain, I would get up every day and go to work and at the same time, I had started the process of becoming a licensed Evangelist Missionary, so I had no intention of letting the pain hinder me. I remember on the day of my test, I was stuck in the bathroom of the church not able to get off the toilet and praying for the strength to stand up and finish the oral part of my exam. I did finish and the pain subsided for 6 months.

That was until January of 2001. I caught a cold and after three weeks, I realized that I wasn’t getting any better but worse. I could barely breathe, I couldn’t lay flat in my bed, and my pains came back in full force to the point of not having enough strength to close my flat iron fully. I pressed on like normal until the assistant manager at the shop kicked me out the shop after seeing me struggle with a client and forced me to go to the hospital. When I was examined by the ER doctor, they sent me in for a CT Scan. I was in so much pain when I laid down on the table that the nurses literally had to sedate me. The doctor told me that I had Pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lungs), and admitted me. I was in and out of the hospital for months until I was finally diagnosed with Lupus in July of 2001. By that time, I was barely walking, couldn’t go to the bathroom on my own, my sister had to dress me and I had to listen to the doctors tell me that they didn’t know what they were going to do because my heart, lungs, and kidneys were shutting down all at the same time.

My life was turned upside down. I wanted to be a good steward over my finances so even before this began, I invested some money and it was supposed to be around $10,000 by the time I got sick. When I realized that I was really getting sick, I told my sister to go pull the money out because I didn't think that I would be able to work for a while. You have probably guessed that the money was gone. So I ended up losing everything, even my home. While all this turmoil raged in my life, I still trusted and believed that God would bring me out. One day I had a conversation with one person who came to visit me and she asked, “how are you dealing with all this? I would probably have killed myself”. I told her that first, I wasn’t going to die from this and second if I didn’t trust God, what else was I going to do. There is nothing more real than Him and His promises”.

That was 2001.

Once again I perservered. Although I couldn’t be in the shop full time, I still wanted to be in the Cosmetology industry. It started with a phone call from a cosmetology school. They asked if I still wanted to teach. The amazing thing was that I didn’t even apply for the job, so I knew it was God opening that door. I started instructing and found out that I had a natural gift for it. I loved my job, I loved my co-workers and students and my life began to look more like my original picture. Even with the ups and downs of the job, even when my boss lied and tried to make me quit at every chance, I pressed on and outlasted her and the lie! Everything that was owed to me, God quickly gave it to me and showed me that He was still in control.

However, like the wolf in the “Three Little Pigs” (sheesh, she’s finally back to the point), the Lupus came back with a vengeance. I was back on my walker, in the hospital literally every other month until my boss kindly allowed me to leave without fear of losing my status and pay and he told me that all I had to do was call him and I could come right back. I didn’t get the chance because I was always in the hospital.

The next part is hard for me to tell because it’s embarrassing at my age. I ran out of money and had to choose either to eat or have a place to live. I didn’t have anywhere to go but my car, so I chose to pay rent and keep my car because I drove myself to the hospital. I didn’t have electricity sometimes, and it got to the point where I had to stand in food lines just to eat. To add insult to injury, I was actually given food that was spoiled, burnt and inedible. I finally got to the place where I had to look for shelter. I called a really good friend of mine and asked to stay in her transitional housing program. She said NO, but only because she wouldn’t allow me to go there when she had room in her own home.

She and her husband allowed me to stay there with no time limit and rarely asked for anything. I took a job from a friend and told them that I would pay rent, but I was never paid, they still didn’t kick me out because of me not keeping my word. They prayed for me and still had my back as I was in and out of the hospital with surgeries, blood transfusions, sepsis, and almost dying. But the toll of no respite had manifested in my soul. I was so depressed that I stopped asking God for anything. For months I contemplated suicide all day long because that was the only way I saw out of this pain. I had to start life over so many times that I started to believe that God was never going to bring me out. I scared my own self because I couldn’t shake it off. Everything I tried failed, and when I tried making them right, I failed again.

But a funny thing happened. One night I walked into a furniture mover and tore a huge hole in my leg deep enough that my hand went inside of it. If that wasn’t bad enough, the ER doctor left a piece of metal in my leg after stitching it up and the wound died. I could barely walk for almost a year and after 4 hospital visits, I was finally sent to a wound clinic and it closed. However, it was the pain of this wound that finally brought me out of my depression.

One day it hit me and I began to laugh and thought, “only you would have all these things happen to you and still be here!”. The devil has tried to take my life on so many occasions, starting in college when I was used as a human shield in a gunfight (seriously, the man put me in front of him and I saw the fire from the gun coming towards me). The cars around me were shot up and I walked away without even a scratch. Then when I had organ failure, and the doctor sat next to me at USC County Hospital saying that they didn’t know what to do, when I had Sepsis (107 degrees temperature) and God told me to put scriptures around my bed for my healing, and finally when I was in ICU and woke to the nurse telling me that I wasn’t breathing.

Every time Satan tried to take me out, he failed. So I am no longer afraid of the Big Bad Wolf. He can huff and puff all he wants; I will keep going because I’m stronger than he is. I serve a God who is greater than Satan and my God has given me everything I need to win this fight. Yes, I had to rebuild, but every time I did, I became stronger & wiser. The storms came and knocked me down but never took me out. I know that my trials are for a great purpose, even if it is only to encourage one person to not give up and allow their circumstances to take them out.

We are reluctant (especially Christians) to talk about our failures because it seems to spit in the face of what we believe and proclaim. A Christian contemplating suicide, they must not Love God. They aren’t healed, then they don’t trust God. Calamity after calamity, then they must have done something wrong. That’s not necessarily the case. The scripture that has ministered to me all these years I Corinthians 10:13 … He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that ye may able to bear it. I choose to apply it to my life. The temptation is to give up, run away, turn away from God, but I now and forever choose God and I cast everything on Him.

I’m still here and I have a purpose, and again, I'm not afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: He’s shown his worst and lost!

Why would I be?

10 Replies
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Hi Lupusforme,

What an incredible journey. I just hope that I can strive to be as brave as you. I was diagnosed with SLE just over 18 months ago and its been extremely had - symptoms no way as severe as yours. Had been really stressed by my employers at the time. Was having difficulty breathing and was told by GP that I had a chest infection, given antibiotics which did nothing after 2 weeks. Went to A&E and after spending the entire night there was told I had a shadow on my lungs -first thought was cancer as my father had died of it. Told to come back later that morning, admitted after returning and after spending a several hours and untold tests, I was told that I had a DVT in my left calf, a serious amount of fluid on my lungs - 1 litre of fluid was actually drained from my right lung, some fluid is still left and still have some pain and shortness of breath, but told not enough left to drain - and that's when they diagnosed SLE. Not going to lie, it's been difficult coming to terms with the condition when you have people telling you that you don't look sick. This illness is a killer, but trying extremely had to soldier on. There are day's when I'm feeling really low, but after reading your journey, it will be an inspiration for me to soldier on. I wish you all the best.

taylo23xx

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Thank you so much, I pray for you as well. It's so funny, to read some of the same feelings that I have had. Especially people assuming that you aren't as sick as you claim to be! That's why I was so happy that I found this website! I can talk about my experiences and know that if I mention something, there will be someone who knows exactly what I am talking about! Be Blessed!

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Lupusforme,

I think you got it all wrong. Not big bad wolf. But modern day female JOB. YOU ARE A GREAT WITNESS TO GOD'S AWWWESOME POWER IN THE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE! Keep touching the world, MY Sister. We need you. You may be one of the only representatives of JESUS that the world may see. I can relate. I have Lupus too. I consider myself an Ambassador of JESUS CHRIST, too, but I also am struggling with the illness, though different from your description. I lost my Father on my birthday almost two years ago. In two weeks my birthday, again. Even though I didn't know it when he passed, I was in extreme pain to the point where I was not able to hardly move and I kept how I felt as a secret because I felt that I would be a burden. I deeply regret that because many times it seemed like I was being distant and unconcerned, but I wasn't. I was trying to hide my feelings and the struggle. My favorite scriptures are the 27th Division of Psalm. "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear ; the Lord is the strength of my life, whom shall I be afraid". I will keep you in my prayers, please remember me as well.

Thank you for starting my day in Devine resolution.

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Thank you for responding! You sound like me as far as not wanting to burden someone else. The funny thing is that, just as you stated, people see it as us not wanting to be around or being funny. I just had a conversation about the same thing. I am learning how to now be present and not feel as if everyone else has to go out their way to make concessions for me. ..." whom shall I be afraid"! Be blessed and I hope to hear great things from you as well!

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You are an inspiration lupus forme, Keep on doing what you are doing. God bless you! Xo, Nan

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Thank you so much! Be blessed, I 'll be praying for you!

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Amen to you my sister in Christ. God is a good, good father no matter how we feel each day He is still there and has promised to never leave or forsake us.

Thanks for your honesty. My journey with lupus along with its demons has been different to yours but we are all different.

I pray you will continue to remain strong in your faith as you and all of us wait for our healing.

Remain blessed xx

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The interesting thing about us is that, although our individual circumstances vary, there is a part of all our stories that resonate with each other! I pray that our journies become easier as we walk in faith and hold up each other!

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Fantastic testimony - thank you for sharing. God bless x

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Thank you! Be blessed!

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