LupusChick’s Spotlight On series began about 3 years ago. We highlight men and women who are dealing with a wide range of illnesses, and we felt it was important to tell individual stories because of how different each story is. Our hope is you connect to one (or more) stories! This Spotlight On story was completed by LC writer, Maria Mongiardo and edited by LC Founder, Marisa.
Wanda Thomas was diagnosed with Lupus at the age of 12. Now at age 42 she has a husband, two children, and her own photography business called MadCris Images.
What type of Lupus do you have?
The medication they gave me for my epilepsy is believed to have caused my Lupus. The doctors call it environmental Lupus so now any medication I take has to be doctor approved because I run the risk of Lupus coming out of remission. I do have my liver and kidney functions checked, and I currently live with rheumatoid arthritis which is painful as you are well aware of. I don’t take any other medication aside from my seizure medication but that’s my life story in a nutshell.
I just deal with some of the side effects of the Lupus like hair loss and other things of that nature, rashes, joint pain, and fatigue. But aside from all of that, I think one of the hardest things is not being able to take any over-the-counter medications because of the increased risk of Lupus kicking in or coming out of remission. So when cold and flu season come around, or PMS occurs, I cannot take any pain meds. Things like everyday medications people normally take, I cannot…so that’s my cross to bear with Lupus.
Can we ask how you currently support yourself? Work and Lupus is a popular theme in our community.
I own my own business. I am a Headshot Photographer here in Philadelphia, PA, and have been self-employed for five years. I am married to a wonderful man, Fred. We have been married for nine years and have two children, Maddie and Cris. I combined their names to form my business name MadCris Images. Many days it is hard to work because of the damage to my body from Lupus, but until I absolutely cannot work anymore I will continue because I love photography.
Do you do any alternative treatments for your illnesses?
Lifestyle wise, yes… I exercise/workout, and watch what I eat. I do not consume a lot of gluten and stay away from a lot of bread and carbs because I know how it affects me. I do drink socially, but I stay on top of my doctor’s appointments and take care of myself.
I became really committed to these things within the last couple of years. Putting myself and my health first is something very new for me. For many years and many reasons I put it on the back burner. It was not until recently that I started making “me” a priority.
You mention having children – how much do your kids know about Lupus?
My kids are six and eight years old. While they are still a little too young to understand the full scope of Lupus they understand when I get sick and that I need rest.
What advice do you have for other Lupus moms?
Advice for women in the working world is to talk with your employer about telecommuting. See if you can work from home during flare ups or days when you are not feeling well. (Many company’s are allowing this nowadays).
What do you hope for the future while living with Lupus?
I would like just one-day to be pain free. I’ve never had that. While I think living with the pain has made me the person that I am…I would like a life without pain. I guess everybody would. What do I hope for in the future? Maybe to run a 5k, or something like that.
But ideally, I would love to wake up one morning and be able to walk upright, to see what a day without this pain would be like.
Is there anything you hope someone understands from reading your story?
What I hope people takeaway from reading my story is this – while there are many different types of Lupus and yes, this disease can take a lot from you, the one thing that it cannot take is your mindset. You make a choice on how you deal with the disease. You can be happy and still be sick. It’s a choice you have to make every day. Being happy makes life a bit easier.
What is your Lupus story? Let us know in the comments.
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