When the 24-year-old graced the stage of MUJ 2014, nobody would have guessed she was battling a form of lupus called Systematic Lupus Erythematosus.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) occurs when the body’s immune system begins to malfunction and attack healthy tissue in various parts of the body, causing inflammation and damage. Tissues affected can include the skin, joints, muscles, kidneys, lungs, heart, blood vessels, and brain.
Zandrea’s introduction to lupus was at an early age, through her mother. Her mother has been living with Discoid Lupus for 23 years.
In 2011, Zandrea’s friends and family encouraged her to join the Miss Jamaica World Beauty Pageant; however, she failed to make the final that year. Determined, she said:
Today, the Spotlight on Arthritis Superheroes is shining on an organization called Lupus Canada.
Lupus Canada is a website that offers resources and information about lupus to people living with lupus, their family and friends, health care professionals and the general public.
Lupus is the name given to a group of chronic immune diseases. It affects about 15,000 Canadians-approximately one in 2000. Lupus Canada wants to ensure that people living with lupus are living well. Like many other forms of arthritis, lupus occurs more commonly in women than in men-women develop lupus approximately ten times more often than men do. While it can strike at any age, it tends to occur most often between the ages of 15 and 45. Continue reading →
Today, the Spotlight on Arthritis Superheroes is shining on an organization called Cassie and Friends Society for Children with Juvenile Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases.
Cassie and Friends started with a little girl named Cassie. Juvenile arthritis became a part of Cassie’s family in September of 2006 when Cassie, then 20 months old, wouldn’t walk when her parents took her out of the crib. Eventually, Cassie was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Her parents were shocked with the diagnosis, as they believed arthritis was only a disease for the elderly. They soon learned how common arthritis is in children.
Today, the “Spotlight on Arthritis Superheroes” is shining on J.G. Chayko of The Old Lady in my Bones.
The Old Lady in my Bones is an arthritis blog by J.G. Chayko (Julia), a writer living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Julia was diagnosed with early Rheumatoid Arthritis in her thirties. She developed her blog to share her experiences of living with this disease, as well as create awareness that arthritis can affect the young too.
“It [arthritis] is a debilitating disease that destroys lives. It affects employment, personal relationships and can cause depression. Knowledge is power. The more you learn about your situation, you can live a fulfilling life despite your disease. Sometimes you must learn to let your old life die and create a new one, like a re-birth.” – J.G. Chayko
Today, the “Spotlight on Arthritis Superheroes” is directed on Helena Madsen of Chronic Marriage.
Chronic Marriage is a blog run by Helena Madsen, a wife, mother, writer, and counselor who lives with Muscular Dystrophy, symptoms of which are similar to those experienced in arthritis and include poor balance with frequent falls, difficulty walking, and a limited range of movement. Helena is all about living with chronic illness AND an extraordinary marriage.
Today, the “Spotlight on Arthritis Superheroes” is directed on Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy.
RA Guy’s rheumatoid arthritis started when he was in his 20’s. His heels were in pain and his knees creaked. In the winter time, his RA symptoms became worse. In his 30’s, his pain never went away and he was unable to use his knees. Finally, after many visits to a doctor, he came across a rheumatologist who confirmed that he had rheumatoid arthritis.
Since his diagnosis, RA Guy has learned a lot about rheumatoid arthritis.
“I learned what TENS means. I gained weight. I regained the use of my knees. I got on meds. I got off meds. I got back on meds. I started doing yoga. I lost a lot of weight. I started taking hot baths. I started sleeping with wool socks. I started taking lots of NSAIDs. I started having stomach problems. I got depressed. I started wearing ankle braces. I started wearing wrist braces. I got happy. I started meditating. I started writing positive affirmations. I started pacing myself through my day-to-day activities. I went into remission. I came out of remission. I had lots of flares. I started therapy. I started getting early joint damage. I started this blog. Most importantly, I started to learn how to LIVE with rheumatoid arthritis.”
Join RA Guy as he shares his ups and downs and continues his journey through chronic pain and debilitating inflammation. Our favourite part about his blogs is that he uses humor to shed light onto matters that others may consider serious. Continue reading →