Tag Archives: health

Stand Up, Be Strong

“Don’t let your young life get you down” 

   Brand New Heavies, Brother Sister

Tonight I was driving to exercise class and one of my favorite songs, Brother Sister, by the Brand New Heavies came on. I started listening to the lyrics and was struck by how blessed I am and how far I have come over the years.

I remember so clearly how when I was a child I tripped and fell all the time. I wonder now if that imbalance problem was an early sign of the lupus to come. In my preteens I started getting terrible pain in my legs. By high school my legs would swell like a sausage sometimes and in college I went through a lupus flare in which I couldn’t really walk. I literally could not lift myself up from a seated position without help. Once up, my legs would shake and it felt like a puff of air would knock me over.

Fast forward to today, I am not only standing and walking, I am going to a dance-based exercise class three times a week. If that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is.

Stand up
Be strong go out there
Hold on
To the real things that matter
‘Cause no one’s gonna hand’ em to you
On a silver platter

Brother Sister, Brand New Heavies

So my Butterfly Lesson for today is borrowed directly from the Brand New Heavies: Don’t let lupus keep you down. Stand Up and Be Strong!

Take Care,

Katina Rae Stapleton

P.S. Check out BNH performing this live.

I’m Raising Lupus Awareness on the Stroke Diva Fabulous Show (Sun. May 6, 2012, 7:30 PM EDT)

This Sunday, I am partnering with my Sorority sister & LifeStyle Blogger Kamaria T. Richmond to bring you twice the fabulousness and some great information about living with lupus.

Kamaria hosts The Stroke Diva Fabulous Show, a monthly radio show on Talkshoe Radio. Kamaria was inspired to create The Stroke Diva Fabulous Show after her 2004 stroke. The show is a celebration of life and topics include spirituality, healthy living, lifestyle reinvention, the arts, music, current issues, popular culture, fashion, beauty, travel, gourmet food, wine, home decor, and so much more.

This Month’s topic on the Stroke Diva Fabulous Show is Lupus in honor of Lupus Awareness Month and features me (Katina Rae Stapleton) the brains and beauty behind the Butterfly Lessons: Living a Fabulous Life with Lupus Blog.

WhatLupus Awareness w/ Katina Rae Stapleton on the Stroke Diva Fabulous Show!

Where: Online at Talk Shoe Radio

When: Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 7:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time

We would love if you joined us as I dish with Kamaria about the ups and downs of living with lupus and the nature of fabulousness:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? . . . as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

Until Sunday,

Katina Rae Stapleton

Want more Kamaria? She shares her lifestyle insights and experiences on her Cinchcast audio blog: http://www.cinchcast.com/kamaria. Follow Kamaria on Twitter: http://twitter.com/kamaria and connect with her on Facebook.

Congratulations, You Have Lupus (#HAWMC 28)

Today’s topic for the Health Writer’s Activist Month Challenge is to write about a “first” in your life: “Write a post about the first time you did something. What is it? What was it like? What did you learn from it?”

I decided to write about my “first” diagnosis of lupus. As a young teen in middle school, I felt “kind-of-bad” two and three days of the week. I would get tired, zone out while doing chores, and frequently had headaches, stomach cramps, muscle pain and the strangest “acne” across my cheeks.

For about two years I went back and forth to different doctors. My pediatrician had me tested for everything from lead poisoning to lyme disease. It wasn’t until I had a seizure in high school (which my mom writes about in A Mother’s Journey), that I saw a rheumatologist who finally diagnosed me with lupus.

con·grat·u·la·tions: an expression of joy in the success or good fortune of another.

That diagnosis was the best news I had in a long time. While I was terrified by having an autoimmune disease, I was relieved that my symptoms had a name. There wasn’t some phantom bad mojo that was stalking me; instead, I had a real, honest-to-goodness medical problem that now could be treated.

That diagnosis was a blessing. I believe to this day that my early diagnosis (and treatment) is what helped me have such a full life over the last twenty plus years.

Katina Rae Stapleton

PS. If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have lupus, check out Diagnosing Lupus, a resource provided by the Lupus Foundation of America. Then contact a medical professional for more information and assistance.

Five Challenges & Five Victories of Lupus (#HAWMC 27)

Today’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge Prompt is:

“Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus. Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going.”

So, without further ado . . . .

Top 5 Most Difficult Things About Having Lupus for 20+ Years

1.    Lupus is painful
2.    Lupus is exhausting
3.    Lupus is “mysterious” & hard for people to understand
4.    Lupus gave me “Funny”, sensitive skin
5.    Lupus can affect any part of my body at any time

 Top 5 Small Victories That Have Kept Me Going 20+ Years with Lupus

1.    I developed an “Iron Will” to survive and thrive
2.    I do not take feeling good for granted
3.    I discovered that I have wonderful family & friends that love me
4.    Lupus provided inspiration for me to write
5.    Telling my story helps me help others with the disease

Keep strong and carry on,

Katina Rae Stapleton

P.S. In Dinner for Five I wrote that I would have loved to meet Orison Swett Marden, the author of An Iron Will. This is one of my favorite passages:

“Yet in spite of all this, in defiance of it, we know that an iron will is often triumphant in the contest with physical infirmity. Brave spirits are a balsam to themselves: There is a nobleness of mind that heals Wounds beyond salves.”

Starburst Candy Cures Lupus! . . .I Wish (#HAWMC 20)

Today’s HAWMC prompt is:

Write a news-style article on a miracle cure. What’s the cure? How do you get the cure?

In my other life as a pop culture expert, I fell in love with tabloids. So my story is short, sweet, and ready for the National Enquirer.

Starburst Candy Cures Lupus!

Dr. Katina Rae Stapleton has discovered the cure for Lupus pain – Starburst Candy. Katina has had lupus since she was a teen. One year she went South for a family vacation and was bed-ridden at her grandparents’ homes for two weeks. She ran out of prescription pain meds and decided to pretend that Starbursts would stop the pain. It worked, but Katina was sure the cure was only in her mind. Years later after she went to graduate school and learned how to conduct scientific studies, Katina secretly tested the Starburst cure on herself. Every time her muscles hurt she eats Starbursts instead of taking painkillers. She gained a lot of weight, but is now pain-free. Even if this turns out to be a placebo effect, Starbursts rule.

Disclaimer: This story is sort-of-true. Katina really was stuck in bed for TWO weeks and ate packs and packs of Starbursts to keep from crying. Even though she still believes in her heart-of-hearts that candy makes the world a better place, she can’t prove that Starbursts stop lupus pain. If you have lupus pain, get proper medical treatment. And perhaps a massage (if your doctor thinks it is a good idea).

Dinner for Five (#HAWMC 19)

Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.
Orison Swett Marden

Thursday’s HAWMC prompt was:

Who are 5 people you’d love to have dinner with (living or deceased) and why?

My five are:

  • Rosalind Joffe, author of Women, Work, and Autoimmune Disease for inspiring women with chronic illnesses to stay in the workforce.
  • Dolly Parton, my favorite country singer of all time and icon of fabulousness.
  • Orison Swett Marden, motivational writer and founder of Success magazine for his sage advice on perseverance in the face of struggle.
  • Laura Hillenbrand, chronic fatigue syndrome survivor who managed to write the international bestseller Seabiscuit despite being homebound.
  • Salt-N-Pepa (who I am counting as 1), my favorite female rappers for inspiring me to tell my story.

Who would you invite to dinner and why?

Katina Rae Stapleton

Does Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? Lupus, Exercise, and Clutter (#HAWMC 18)

“Fat, thin, cluttered, clean-I want you to find the life that makes you happy.” Peter Walsh

I am a huge reader and often find inspiration and practical advice in books. So when I read today’s HAWMC challenge, I headed to my bookshelf and pulled down Does this Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? by organizer Peter Walsh.

Open a Book. Choose a book and open it to a random page and point to a phrase. Use that phrase to get you writing today.

Peter’s book inspired me to think about my personal relationship with lupus, exercise, and clutter:

When I am tired or hurting, I tend to put things down and just leave them. And if taking a nap, exercising, and doing my laundry are in direct competition, napping wins most of the time.

Lupus flares make me tired,
Being tired leads to clutter,
Seeing my clutter makes me tired,
Being tired leads to lupus flares.
Lupus flares make it hard to exercise,
Lack of exercise leads to weight gain,
Weight gain makes my lupus flare,
Lupus flares make me tired.

I found this passage from Does this Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? when I turned to a random page. I think it is very powerful.

The only person who can create the life you want is you. Like it or not, no knight in shining armor is coming to make the situation better for you. Your destiny is firmly in your own hands. If you are unhappy with the life you have or unsatisfied with the body you have, then you should change it. . .

The Butterfly Lesson is: while I can’t cure my lupus, I can exercise and get rid of clutter.

Take care,

Katina Rae Stapleton

Black Men also get Lupus: A Pinterest Board (#HAWMC 16)

Today’s HAWMC challenge was to create a Pinterest Board:

Pin it – Health Activist Style. A picture is worth a thousand words and today’s prompt proves it…. What images did you “pin” that mean the most to you when you think about your health, your condition, or your time as a Health Activist?

Nick Cannon has been on my mind a lot lately because he is a great example of “exceptions proving the rule.” Lupus is largely a female disease. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, only one out of every 10 lupus patients is male.

Nick’s case of Lupus Nephritis (when lupus affects the kidneys) is one of a very few cases in which black male celebrities with lupus have called public attention to men and lupus.

Seal has become the “face” of discoid lupus,a version of lupus that severely scars the skin.

Rapper Trick Daddy also has Lupus. Listen to his interview with Wendy Williams here:

If you are interested in viewing my Pinterest Board Black Men with Lupus, please check it out.

Katina Rae Stapleton

A Perfect Day, With Lupus (#HAWMC 14)

Today marks my 14th day Blogging for the Health Activist’s Writers Month Challenge. I am excited that I blogged 2 weeks in a row without having to use a get-out-of-blog-free card. If you have been following the posts, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment on the page or send me a message through Facebook or Twitter.

So, now let’s turn to my perfect day . . . .

My requirements for a perfect day are very simple, though harder to achieve than I wish. I simply want to wake up without any pain and fully rested and stay that way for an entire day.

Katina Rae Stapleton

P.S.  I saw this lovely quote that represents my wish for all my lupus butterflies:

This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.” Unknown

10 things I would hate to live without (#HAWMC 13)

Today’s #HAWMC prompt was to write a list of the 10 things you need (or love) most.

I found this great quote online about the things living beings need to exist:

All living things need an energy source which may be provided by chemicals or light, an environment that does not poison, cook or freeze them and others of their species (if they are not single celled or asexual) to breed with. Unknown

Since I have food & water and a home with air-conditioning and heat, I think I am set for life (yes, I know mom, I am not married yet!). So I thought my list should be of 10 things I would hate to live without:

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Books
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Mani-Pedis
  • An occasional day off from work
  • Sunrises and Sunsets
  • Travel
  • Chocolate

I hope this weekend you have a chance to enjoy the things you love,

Katina Rae Stapleton