Sunday, 29 July 2012

Lupus: Before and After

Life is very different since lupus.
People with chronic conditions like lupus tend to categorise our lives into "before" and "after".

You might have noticed that there's a little sports carnival going on over in England at the moment.  Lots of people seem to be interested in following it on television and radio. Me? I'm avoiding it.

To be honest, I was never really big on watching sport. But there was a time when I really loved taking part in it.

As a kid I did judo.  And in my 30s I discovered taekwondo. That was lots of fun. The medal collection in the picture includes some from state, and national championships, and the Asia Pacific Masters games.

I wasn't good at sparring (too afraid of getting hurt) but I was fairly good at technical events: patterns and breaking boards. Training a couple of nights a week helped me keep my weight under control as well.

But that was before lupus. That was when my joints didn't hurt when I moved, when I had the strength to do something like breaking a board with my foot or fist. It was when my joints could actually bend and I could kick at head height.

After lupus? Now my workout is hydrotherapy. I get in a warm pool and walk up and down the pool several times, bend and stretch bits as far as they will go (and they do bend and stretch further in the warm water). Everything's very, very gentle.

I'll never get to win a medal for hydrotherapy. It might be as hard, or even harder, than training for the nationals years ago, but there's no recognition for the work. At least I'm moving, and doing something that's good for my body. It's worth celebrating the little I can do.


  1. Every successful personal challenge is a victory that deserves a medal. No matter if it's olympic sport or not.

  2. I step on the mat in honor of you. I'm a survivor of lupus since I was 19 I am now 36 years old with two children. I was a cheerleader in High School and played piano and sang but over the years, it became a fight just to get out of the bed. About 3 years ago I had lost me in my appearance, in my movement even the medicines had affected my singing voice. I started to write in support groups just like you blogged here and that became my outlet. I have been a Respiratory Therapist for 13 years and I was having to take leave often and it really brought my moral down withing myself and with others. I felt like a failure as a co worker, a mother, a wife, and just was unhappy with myself. I met another person whom had the exact type lupus and we encouraged eachother daily and still do and within our friendship and my family support I began to get stronger. Building more and more working at my job more- and taking my children to gymnastics and Taekwondo . That was where I would watch and watch and think how much I'd like to do that. So now here I am months later getting ready to do my belt test. Now that doesn't mean I don't have days in bed, ice on my leg, or therapy, but the key is they said I wouldnt live ten years at age 19 but I did. And I may never have a black belt, a medal, or a perfect kick- but when I walk on the mat I honor people like you and ones in the past that we do much more than others because "we Live!!!" may God bless you sweet girl!!!

  3. Awesome April! Thanks so much for sharing your story.

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