If you read my last post, I’m sure by now you’ve done your research on the foreign word I dropped on you right at the end — dermatomyositis (again, I’ll sound it out: dur-mat-oh-my-oh-sigh-tis). For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term — which I’m sure is about 99.9% of the folks reading this post — dermatomyositis is an autoimmune, connective-tissue disease that is characterized by severe inflammation of the muscles and skin (Sidenote: Normal muscle enzyme level range is below 270… My level was 1800 when I was diagnosed).
Now, getting back to where I left off in my last post…
A month and a half after constant questioning, I was finally diagnosed and began treatment. However, slapping a label on my health condition didn’t alleviate my uncertainty — it only intensified it. Now, I had a new set of questions: Where did this come from? Why do I have it? Am I gonna have to live with this for the rest of my life? And since dermatomyositis is neither contagious or hereditary, I was extremely confused. Although the cause is uncertain, many medical professionals believe the condition is either sparked by a viral or bacterial infection, or severe stress.
In my particular case, I had been dealing with a lot during my last semester of college, which is when I had begun developing symptoms. I was a resident assistant, the co-chair of a major on-campus event and a newly initiated member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. All of this was on top of still having to complete my senior classes in order to graduate. So in hindsight, I’d say stress played a huge role in bringing about my condition.
But at the time, I felt like I had been randomly hit by a ton of bricks that fell specifically to crash down my entire world. I remember telling my mom one day, “This doesn’t feel like my life.” My faith was being tested — and I was failing.
While I spent many days crying and wondering why God had allowed this to happen to me, my family served as my main source of strength. Especially my mother, who placed me on a strict, holistic regimen in addition to my medication. She researched and fed me just about every natural anti-inflammatory food in the book (including ginger root and circumin) juiced wheatgrass, carrots and celery for me twice a day, and encouraged me daily to never lose faith in God.
Then one night as I was praying, something clicked. Everything I was going through was a part of God’s perfect plan, and He was preparing me for something greater. I suddenly realized that I had to really start trusting in Him and taking on a brand new mindset. So that’s exactly what I did.