LUPUS IN COLOR PRESENTS
THE 5TH ANNUAL FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES
Flight of the Butterflies is a lupus awareness campaign sharing stories of the brave lupus warriors. Many don’t understand lupus until they hear the walk of a warrior. Flight of the Butterflies is dedicated to sharing those stories in May for lupus awareness month.
Flight of the Butterflies Begins…..
Flight of the butterfly Tabitha D. Hill
It feels just like yesterday, when my life was in a neat little box. I was just getting things figured out. I had a full-time job that I enjoyed most days. I was the main income in my family and our budget looked rather nicely for once. My personal and spiritual life was just starting to come together and I was doing ok. As life would have it sometimes, that neat little box of my life would be shaken to the core.
It started with just being extremely tired all the time followed by an illness that appeared to be the flu. I had had a flu shot so things didn’t make sense, that illness lasted two weeks. On top of these symptoms I began to have headaches. I worked in radiology as a clerk so as these symptoms persisted I was asked to volunteer to be to tested on a new MRI machine. It was in this MRI that the tech discovered that my blood pressure would drop extremely low. All though the tech was not sure what was happening, he suggested that I get checked by a cardiologist. My job became more difficult for me on a daily basis, I began to notice that my memory was not as good as it used to be. I had an impeccable memory up to this point but I thought this was all because I was so tired all of the time.
I had a swollen ankle that persisted for a month so I went to the doctor to see what was going on. The doctor dismissed it as water wait gain. I couldn’t take the ankle pain any longer so I went to an urgent care center hoping that the doctor would be able to tell me something different about my swollen ankle. It was then that the doctor performed a De-dimer test to see if I had a blood clot. After about an hour the doctor came in the room and told me that I had a DVT (Deep Vain Thromboses), which is a blood clot in the deep veins of your leg usually discovered in the calf of the leg. My blood clot had already started traveling up my leg and was now in my thigh. Knowing the severity of the DVT they called for an ambulance to take me to the main hospital where I worked, things suddenly became real. They took me down to radiology and the radiologist that I worked closely with came in and told me the news. I was devastated. They told me that it had traveled up into my right thigh, and I was “lucky”, that I had not waited any longer that this could have killed me instantly if it had got to my heart or my brain. I knew right then there was a higher power looking out for me.
I was in the hospital for a week undergoing tests and medication for the DVT. Later that week a PA came in, she asked me the right question, does anyone in your family have Lupus? I knew very little of Lupus at this point in my life, in fact the only person I knew that had Lupus was my Aunt on my mother’s side of the family.
At this point I had no idea how my life would change forever. In encountered fatigue, and unexplained illnesses, headaches, joint pain, burning pains and debilitating pain in my hands, I had always thought it was normal to feel that way.
Soon after seeing my first rheumatologist I was diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome, a blood clotting disease but I still did not know how this played into Lupus. I will be on Coumadin for the rest of my life to protect me from blood clots. I would have to be conscious of what I ate, and the what I did. I would have to be careful not to fall.
On Easter, April 20, I attended the Easter egg hunt at my church. On the way home that afternoon, I noticed my hands were turning blue. As I recounted the day, wondering if I touched Easter egg dye and I couldn’t recall any of that. I went home, washed my hands, and I couldn’t get the blue off my fingers. It scared me so bad, that I called my friend who was a doctor and asked him what I should do. He told me go to the ER NOW. The resident came in and told me that I had something called Raynaud’s syndrome which is also related to Lupus. This will be the first time I was actually diagnosed with Lupus.
Because I had been out sick so much and I had used up all of my FMLA my job let me go, life at this point seemed to come crashing down, how were we going to make it?
(became even more scary. Everything was out of my control and I quickly learned that stress only heightens the pain from Lupus and Raynaud’s.)
In 2015, it was discovered that I was bleeding internally. I dreaded going to bed because I knew that misery was waiting every time I closed my eyes. I slept with 6 pillows and I never got through and entire night with blood coming up through my nose. I took omeprazole every day and still that did not prevent the agony I suffered at night time. It took a while to figure out the plan of action and a trip to the hospital throwing up blood and then they discovered I was bleeding internally.
All things rare. It has been quite a ride to battle with the mental challenges that come along with Lupus, brain fog, forgetfulness, fatigue, joint pain, low iron, fighting depression and the latest a current Lupus inflamed my intestines and has caused much suffering and pain. My chest is also filled with inflammation and I have a little something called neurocardiogenic syncope, where my brain does not communicate with my heart to stay in rhythm.
I struggled with fear at first and I cried a lot of tears. I was angry and wondered why this had to happen to me. I had everything I needed in my life, my family, a wonderful church, I was learning how to play guitar, I was going to college, I had a full-time job, I had hopes and dreams and suddenly in a matter of a few months my life was turned upside down and the neat little box that contained my life was shattered.
However, I was blessed with a spiritual family and a spiritual father and mother that supported me every step of the way. It is when you face your real hardships in life that you find who is really on your side. I had always been told that God would make a way when there seems to be no way.
Although Lupus has been a life changer for me, it has also changed my take on life, life is precious. Enjoy every moment that you get. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits, and take care of you. I have seen many hospital beds in the last three and a half years but the one thing I can say is I have never been alone. God has never left me or forsaken me. I know that I have a purpose and that even with Lupus being the invisible disease, I still have hope. I still have dreams and I plan on fulfilling them.
Lupus In Color is excited to present Tabitha’s story to the world. As a Lupus Warrior she is actively promoting lupus awareness and wearing the armor of strength in doing so. Lupus In Color Salutes you Tabitha D. Hill .
YOU ARE BRAVE, COURAGEOUS AND AMAZING TO SHARE YOUR STORY.
YOUR BUTTERFLY WINGS ARE FLUTTERING, YOUR CHIN IS UP, YOUR ARMS ARE EXTENDED AND YOUR CHEST IS OUT! FLY ON BUTTERFLY!
PLEASE SHARE TABITHA D. HILL’S FLIGHT ON YOUR WALL AND START HER BUTTERFLY JOURNEY SPREADING LUPUS AWARENESS!
#LupusInColor #ButterfliesofHope #FlightoftheButterflies #Brave #Courageous #Strong #SpreadLupusAwareness