Having never heard of the condition myself I didn’t know what to expect, I only knew what I was feeling at that time and it wasn’t a pretty picture. I was diagnosed with lupus nephritis and had been experiencing some common lupus symptoms like severe fatigue, achy joints and muscles. Having kidney involvement also came with a large accumulation of excess fluid and weight.
As a teenage girl in high school, who would think that one day you might be suffering from a chronic autoimmune disease? Of course I thought that feeling ill would pass…..I would think “I’m just tired, gaining weight and need to stop eating chips and soda”!
Waiting patiently for symptoms to disappear seemed to be impossible as they only seemed to get worse! One day at school I finally reached my threshold……I was unable to put my school books in my bag. I called my father to contact the school office to grant me permission to leave campus early.
My dad greeted me on the front porch once I arrived home. All I recall after that was climbing into bed where I remained for the following weeks. I would only get up to go to the bathroom, shower, and of course the countless trips to the lab and doctor’s office.
The excellent team of specialists had me diagnosed after a week of my initial emergency room visit! I immediately began therapy that would get me back to feeling like myself again. And with any big life event you have a tendency to make some adjustments. The Mallori I knew myself to be would soon evolve into a new person. With life changes, the “me” that I once knew would never quite be the same.
About four years after being diagnosed I found myself working as a patient care technician in a dialysis facility while simultaneously studying at the local community college where I became fascinated and passionate about the human body that gives us life. I began studying human sciences and ultimately earned a bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Hawaii.
Along this path I also discovered yoga and began to acknowledge the relationship between the different components that make up life, including the mind, body, spirit and environment. This interest recently brought me on a journey to India to study yoga further. I hope that the combination of yoga and nutrition, along with my life experience will somehow encourage others who are living with similar conditions to take steps towards improving their health.
Through trial and error with my own body, I have learned that we truly are what we eat. We are not the thoughts that enter our minds. Most importantly I have discovered that I possess an element of control over the role that lupus was going to play in defining myself.
The struggles that I have faced living with lupus have challenged me in so many ways, showing me my weaknesses while allowing me to dig deep to find my strengths. Writing my story, I now see that the life that was turned upside down over thirteen years ago has actually become a more purposeful one and has been blessed with the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. It has allowed me to see how precious the life we live truly is and the importance of being the lead role in a positive, individual and powerful way.