Every Woman Campaign-Danielle's Story
"Some days are the bad days," Danielle told me. "These are just the cards I've been dealt. But I don't allow it to affect all my days."
That's saying something when you have Lupus and Epilepsy.
Danielle has carried these invisible illnesses for years.
"Diagnosed with Epilepsy at 16," Danielle explained. "Protein S Deficiency which is a rare genetic disorder of blood coagulation causing me to be at an increased risk of a PE and DVT which could lead to stroke or heart attack is broken off. So, I am on an anticoagulant indefinitely. I have had one acute DVT so traveling is difficult without the possibility of standing every hour to increase slow to my leg (it’s just been my normal since age 20)
Antiphospholipid Syndrome which is a multisystemic autoimmune disorder which later led to the be linked to SLE Lupus."
What about Lupus? When did that quiet illness perk up?
Well, unfortunately, it took a while and several misdiagnoses. Danielle knew something was wrong, something was not right but finding it, took time.
"There was speculation of MS at one point and a neurologist said, “we can’t diagnose you with MS at this time"," Danielle said. "What does that mean? Not now but later?"
Imagine that frustration. Knowing that something is wrong, looking for answers from people who you hope know . . . and then coming up short. Maybe even leaving with more questions and more worry than where you started.
"The days and months went on and as my symptoms began to progress my health fell into the hands of the right specialist who performed the right lab work to make (what for right now) is the right diagnosis. What that gives me is some answers. What is does not give me is solutions. I have been figuring most of that out. Yes, they can prescribe me medication and treatment but over time the wear and tear on my body from medication is far greater than any self-love and healing I can give myself. So, I made a promise to myself…. to be positive despite the struggles, to be courageous regardless of the fear, and to not allow any of it to define me as a person. Now, do I have days of complete destruction? You bet.. but who doesn’t?"
"What I can tell you… I cannot rely solely on myself. I have some absolutely amazing people in my corner. “Family” that runs far deeper than blood. And my daughters, they are my light. Which sounds completely cliché but its true. When I see their faces and the strength they have, I know I can accomplish anything. I hope I have taught them enough about determination and strength to know that they have the ability to accomplish anything in life. It is not with many careers, millions of dollars, or fancy home but with willpower.
Brad, who has reminded me how real love feels and how not to be ashamed of flaws or imperfections. He has shown me the power of devotion. I know tomorrow could be hard, really damn hard but as long as I stay positive, I believe I can conquer anything no matter how tired or in pain I am."
"As I get older, I know there are many physical limitations most of my friends don’t encounter. Instead of running the 5K with her (my daughter), I’ll be cheering her on. Instead of playing in that tournament, I’ll be keeping score. What once is no more and I have grown to accept it.
I believe it all starts with how you process and improve your own life which I’ve continued to work at throughout the past few years. Every step in my journey is growth in the process."
Danielle's story humbles me.
Seeing her you would never know she fights a silent battle within her body.
Amazingly, despite her own pain, suffering, and uncertainty, she sees other people in a similar light.
"They might have issues I can't see," Danielle said. "I don't know. It's like that for me."
Danielle's story should speak to every woman because so many of us are like her. So many of us fight battles that no one else sees. Many of us feel we can't rely on our physical body therefore we must reley on others.
That is strength. That is bravery.
Thank you for sharing your story, Danielle. It is beautiful and eye-opening.
Thank you for showing up despite pain and discomfort.
You are an example of kindness and perseverance.
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