THE 8TH ANNUAL FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES
Butterflies of Hope Warrior Stories
Flight of the Butterflies, Butterflies of Hope Warrior Stories 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, Butterflies of Hope Warrior Stories is dedicated to sharing those stories in May for lupus awareness month.
Flight of the Butterfly Shawnna-Lee James
My name is Shawnna-Lee, known online as Lee My officially diagnosed journey with Lupus began at the end of 2015, however I believe I may have developed lupus in 2009 or earlier. The skin on my scalp became extremely dry and covered in sores. I noticed I would go through times where my entire scalp was tender to the point where I couldn’t run a comb through my hair. And when I was able to, I was losing a lot of hair. I saw 3 specialist dermatology doctors from different hospitals who all diagnosed me as having various types of skin conditions. No tests were ever done but I was prescribed numerous different shampoos and ointments over the next 6 years. Nothing worked. In 2013 I had my first pain related hospitalization due to a sudden and excruciating pain in my back that came out of nowhere. The hospital didn’t really run any tests, I was released after 2 nights being told it was just chronic muscle inflammation. One thing I have learned from my diagnosis journey is you could see the doctors a thousand times with a variety of ailments and your Lupus will only be discovered if they are looking for the right thing.
Finally at the end of 2015, having gone to a new dermatology doctor again at a different hospital, the dermatologist finally said they need to do extensive blood tests to find out what might be the cause of my rapid hair loss. Those results revealed SLE at the end of 2015, age 28. Less than a year later I was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome. I’ve been on Hydroxychloroquine since early 2016. I had a depressive episode in 2016 when I tried to deal with my new reality of daily pain and saying goodbye to the person I once was and the life I once had. I had to accept that this was my new reliability and that didn’t really sink in until the beginning of 2018. With the help of friends and family, especially my best friend Simonne (who is no longer with us). She pushed me to stay strong and be better than my Lupus. Now I am here today, speaking to hundreds of strangers about my journey. It’s scary at times but this is my therapy and this is my story. I am grateful for everything I have been through. Diagnosis: SLE, Sjögren’s, Raynaud’s, Serositis, Seborrheic dermatitis.
Main Symptoms: Fatigue, Joint pains, ankle swellings, chest pain, chronic muscle inflammation in my back, dry mouth and sores on my scalp. Daily Medications: Hydroxychloroquine, Mycophenolate, amitriptyline. Adhoc Medications: Colchicine, CoCodamol, Prednisolone occasionally when symptoms flare and 6-monthly steroid back injections.
Lupus In Color is excited to present Shawnna-Lee James’ 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 Shawnna-Lee James. YOU ARE BRAVE, COURAGEOUS, AMAZING and STRONG 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! FLY ON!
PLEASE SHARE Shawnna-Lee James’ FLIGHT ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES AND START HER BUTTERFLY JOURNEY SPREADING LUPUS AWARENESS!
#LupusInColor #ButterfliesofHope #FlightoftheButterflies #Brave #Courageous #Strong #SpreadLupusAwareness