From Whence You Came

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James Baldwin said “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”

I can’t forget how hard I’ve fought to stay alive. It’s been a struggle to eat, walk, to just exist without pain. But, the decades of chronic illness have also shown me the depths of faith, love and resilience. It’s driven me to use what I’ve learned to help others; to change the world’s perception about people like me (Sick, African American, women, disabled, etc…). And, Baldwin and my soul tell me I can make a difference.

I’m using everything I have to accomplish my goal. I’ve shared my road to diagnosis in my first memoir and now I’m working on a second one about the coping skills I’ve developed. I’ve also stared speaking publicly again. Most recently, I addressed a public forum hosted by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association in Michigan on 12/9. Here’s are two snippets from my speech.

What you need to know about autoimmune disease

Search for disease beyond the surface
#autoimmunedisease #invisibleillness #chronicillness #chronicpain #igg4 #disability #detroit #spoonie #africanamerican #women #jamesbaldwin

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A Living Example Of Chronic Illness

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Snow blanketed the cities below us as we flew from Newark to Detroit for the day. As our plane climbed higher, I thought, this is the first time I’m not afraid to be in the air. I stared out the window and thought about what I could add to the discussion: “What every American needs to know about autoimmune disease.”

I’m an example of the damage diseases can do and how to live with it, I thought. I had a procedure 3 days ago and got to the airport on time with no sleep. I can deliver a message of perseverance.

Before we got to the AARDA seminar, United Airlines sent a text informing us our flight home was cancelled. We had no hotel and I wasn’t sure I could afford an overnight stay. My “extra money” was allocated to filling stockings for the homeless.

The text combined with pain in my spine/legs after walking through two airports and taking items on and off while standing without my cane at security checkpoints made me cry. I exclaimed, “I want to go home.” My fiancé’ replied, “we came all this way for you to speak and sell some books; that’s what you’re going to do.”

When we walked into the seminar, people were listening to a string of doctors. “They’ve gotten medical information, I need to speak from the heart.”

I talked about misdiagnosis, not appearing sick, and the financial toll, fear and depression tied to living with a chronic illness. Then, I said “don’t give up, advocate for your health, listen to your body, seek out support and information, and take joy in small things.”

At the end of my q&a, a woman said, “God sent you here to save a life. I didn’t want to keep going but you gave me hope.” As she teared up, she handed me a note that said: “I have instant respect, love and admiration for you. God bless you.”” Her sentiment was echoed by other women.


By the time the sun set, my fiancé and I headed to Chicago for a flight to NJ. During our 4 hour layover, my fiancé told a woman about my speech. She shared her son-In-law’s battle with lupus. She concluded that he was grateful to be alive. I thought, I feel the same way.

(P.S. we got home at 2 am but I got up at 8 to go to the store to buy the items to fill my stocking. I rested afterwards)


#autoimmunedisease #invisibleillness #chronicillness #chronicpain #igg4 #lupus #disability #detroit #newark
#spoonie #UnitedAirlines #aardatweets

Success Has Nothing To Do With Fame

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I didn’t write my memoir to get rich or famous although I’d hoped for success. I bared my soul in Misdiagnosed: The Search For Dr. House so that others might know the frustration and fear of not knowing what’s wrong with you, the relief of finding the answer and the pain, loneliness and triumphs of living with a chronic illness. Others are now hearing my message and understanding the struggle; that’s a great accomplishment.

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New Amazon Customer Review
5.0 out of 5 stars
Journey for a diagnosis
ByPamela S. Waymanon October 13, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Verified Purchase

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This book is very interesting. A must read if you have had a medical mystery disease. Nika is slowly deteriorating and spends much time and money looking for a cure or at least a diagnosis of her illness.

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#writinglife #amazon #memoir #spoonies #chronicpain #chronicillness #autoimmunedisease #igg4 #disability #invisibleillness #review35 #aarda #greatblackspeakers

No Day But Today

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Author Napolean Hill says “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” I believe that’s true. Instead of saying someday I will, I’ve decided to set goals to reach for the next 90 days. Why? The alternative would allow my fear of relapse to keep me from moving my life forward. And, it would enable the fact that I have an autoimmune disease (igg4-rd)to limit my future. No way!

1. Set a publication date for my book, Chronic (formerly named Healed) in March (Autoimmune awareness month). I’ve submitted to publishers and gotten notes that ‘memoirs by people who aren’t famous don’t sell. Even one copy is a victory to me. I will release it so that all people who live with an autoimmune disease, relapsing disease or chronic illness/pain will know that it is possible cope with a medical ailment that cannot be cured.
2. Register for a course to complete another degree I started a long time ago (pave the way for a new career as a teacher/professor or whatever I chose). I’m certain not to old to learn. I read and share newly acquired knowledge every day at my present job.
3. Plan a trip that’s more tha a week long with my family (time is precious and want to spend it with those I love.)
4. Begin the adoption application process (I’ve always wanted to be a mom and this maybe the only way for me to do so)
5. I’ll stand on my own two feet and take a long walk without the assistance of a cane for the first time in two years. January 15th is the end of my chosen 90 day period. All of my restorative procedure will be complete.

When I finished my list the lyrics to one of my favorite songs from the musical, “Rent,” popped into my head:

“There’s only now, there’s only here
Give in to love or live in fear
No other path, No other way
No day but today”


There is no way I can justify not accomplishing my goals. I prayed for this respite for decades. I had procedures, saw doctors, and took pills to get to this point. I fought for the chance to succeed, to thrive, to live my dreams. And, I will. No Excuses.


#spoonies #disability #invisibleillness #autoimmunedisease #igg4 #aarda #chronicillness #chronicpain #noexcuses #rent #NapoleanHill #stephenhawking

I’m Not Where I Used To Be

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Facebook reminded that four years ago today the chronic lymphadenopathy caused by my autoimmune disease led to my six surgical lymph node biopsies. This was my final one so far. It left me with a permanently crooked smile but I’m alive.

Three years ago (on the top left) I had my stomach rebuilt and my esophagus repaired for the second time. Chronic inflammation and the drugs I take to manage my chronic pain and illness destroyed them but saved my liver, my ovaries and prevent another stroke. I eat differently but I can swallow; that’s a gift.

Two years ago, my pain in my spine made it hard to walk and caused persistent headaches. Osteoarthritis in my knee from chronic inflammation hurt me too. So, I got radio frequency ablation to scar the nerves and kill the pain. I got a cane for stability and injections in my knees.

The bottom right is me now. Functioning is still sometimes a struggle but I’m not where I was and that’s a blessing. I don’t know what’s next but I know that with faith, friends, family and fortitude I will continue to move forward. And I will share what I’ve learned along the way to help others to keep fighting.I do it through my posts, blogs and memoir and now speaking in public too!

I raised $4,000 last Saturday for the Autoimmune Association for Related Diseases and delivered their keynote address at their NYC walk. I did it because no matter what name is given to your suffering everyone with one of these more than 10 conditions needs to lean on others like them so they don’t feel so alone and misunderstood.
#igg4 #disability #chronicpain #invisibleillness #chronicillness #biopsy #lymphoma #autoimmunedisease @autoimmunediseasesassociation @selenagomez @lenadunham @ladygaga @kimkardashian @halleberry @missymisdemeanorelliott

Autoimmune Walk NYC

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My praise for Alka-Seltzer cold and sinus and its ability to suppress my cold symptoms enough so I could speak at the Autoimmune Walk NYC 2017 wasn’t caught on camera but the majority of my speech is here:

I can only hope that as I continue to share what I’ve learned will motivate others to find a way to cope with whatever obstacles are in their path.

#invisibleillness #autoimmunedisease #chronicillness #chronicpain Autoimmune Walk #disability #spoonie