Rhonda Fitzgerald
I was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota.  I had my first son shortly after graduation.  When he started is first day of kindergarten, I started my first day of college.  Johnathon was so excited his first day; his cousin Vanessa talked the whole walk to school and telling him how fun it was.
My love of people and real estate brought me into the property management field.  When I had my second son, we moved to Woodbury where I was working.  James was so young, but he liked the idea that mommy was so close.  On the weekends he would come visit me at the office.  As part of my position, I was able to plan resident activities: movie nights, pool parties, BBQ’s, pumpkin decorating, etc.  The boys loved participating. 1999 my world changed drastically. At Thanksgiving my mother dropped a very large bomb on the family; she informed us that she had Leukemia due to complications of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.  I was not prepared for this news as my mom was diagnosed with Lupus Erythematosus when I was two; back then they gave her only 6 months left to live so who would have thought this? What is Lupus? Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus. Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight. While there’s no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms. 2000 was a very sad year for me.  I was diagnosed with Lupus Erythematosus which was not what I wanted to hear when I was losing my mother to the same disease.  That was nothing compared to losing my mother on April 9th and my father a few months later on August 5th.  I remember the events as if it were yesterday.  Ever since, I have felt like an orphan and had to be strong for my boys. I received a huge blessing in disguise in 2006.  Johnathon and Sarah informed me that I was going to be a grandmother.  They didn’t leave much time for planning: received the news mid-march and my granddaughter arrived June 1st.  I would sit at the hospital at night until my son arrived after work.  Sarah would finally get to rest peacefully while I gazed at the beautiful blessing named Kailey.  She is my pride and joy and is becoming quite the lady and very intelligent.   Johnathon really surprised me by joining the army and leaving his daughter shortly after her birth.  It was a hard decision for him, but he wanted to have a career and be a better provider.  Things didn’t go as planned, but he had good intentions, and came home one year later. In 2007, I gave real estate sales a try.  I received fancy pens and paper certificates for the Million Dollar Club.  There was nothing like assisting my first buyers into their first home.  I wasn’t sure who was more excited on the day of closing.  Then the market changed and I flipped careers again – into the mortgage industry I went.  Now I review loans for my companies correspondent department; scanning for misrepresentation.  I enjoy what I do and the people I work with. Also in 2007 I met my life partner Mario, who one day I may marry.  He has been extremely supportive when it comes to my health and family issues.  The one constant thing in my life; even though there are just some days….  He definitely goes out of his way to make me happy; having someone assist with housework, keeping our yard looking nice, and will even run a bath for me when I have really rough days.  It is always the little things that matter most, it comes from the heart and not the pocket. Received another huge blessing March 16, 2008 in a bundle of joy named Anthony.   My grandson… he is quite the handful from the day he entered this world.  He can be so naughty and funny at the same time.  He has quite a library of quips at such a young age.  He loves his big sister, very protective of her, and enjoys learning from her.  While Kailey attended kindergarten, she taught Anthony what she learned.  Now my little man is ready to attend pre-school this year 2012. In 2008, my son James was dying to have a dog.  However, he knew there was no way I was cleaning up behind a big dog.  Of course, he promised to pick up the poop, walk with it, train it, play with it, etc.  Reminded him he would soon be in high school and may not have as much time for the dog.  He made the promise, but did not keep it.  So, you could say I acquired a hyper Pomeranian that lived up to his name: Taz Manian Hubbard. I have been living with Lupus Erythematosus since 1999; However, there has only been a couple occasions early on where I had any real symptoms. November 2010 things had started to change; I started experiencing some health issues and was under a lot of stress from major events in my life: planning a family vacation, family members dying, friends having medical issues, etc. Over the months my sleeping had increased to the point I couldn’t get out of bed, had absolutely no energy or motivation and began missing days at work, the chest pain was getting worse, my joints hurt, started losing feelings in my hands and legs, dropping things, experiencing memory fogs and blackouts, breaking out with lesions in my scalp, start getting irritable and snappy, the icing on the cake was when my legs disappeared from under me and I collapsed in the bathtub.  At that point I went back to the doctor with the list of my aches and pains; begging to be fixed. The stress I was under triggered my brain to manifest the Lupus Flare symptoms.  I was stunned.  Never realized that my brain could manifest symptoms of a disease, nor did I realize I had that much stress in my life.  She explained that there was a chemical imbalance in my brain and felt that we should try Venlafaxine ER, then referred me to the D.I.A.M.O.N.D.  Program.  The program is a caseworker from my doctor’s office that acts as a liaison between a psychiatrist and my doctor to monitor the chemical imbalance in my brain and regulate medication.  In addition, I would meet with a psychotherapist to help me sort through my mental mess: severe stress anxiety disorder. On the road to recovery, or so I thought. My doctor referred me to a Rheumatologist as she felt it was time to get in touch with one since I was experiencing inflammation.  He was pleasant and knowledgeable upon the first meeting.  He prescribed Plaquenil and Prednisone to help with the Lupus by reducing inflammation.  Over the following months and many pounds later, I was getting painful side effects: mouth lesions. I was not happy with the results, so I tried the holistic approach.  The ionic foot cleanse was my first approach; yes it does work and is not a hoax.  Then, I tried acupuncture; really not my thing due to my dislike with needles but my doctor even said it could help with the joint pain.  The knowledge I learned from this appointment is what got me thinking: said my diet could cause the inflammation and that I should make broths out of animal bones and eat the liver, heart, etc.  Can we say my gross level was exceeded?  On that note I started researching the web for foods that cause and prevent inflammation, foods that have potential for allergies, night shade vegetables, and gluten free products.  Guess what?  Once I started eating differently I was able to stop taking the Prednisone, Plaquenil, Flonase, Zyrtec and Singular.  Feeling so much better. Taking a page from my psychotherapist, I start thinking about the things that make me happy:  shopping, cooking, traveling, movies, reading, home ownership over renting, traveling, and cats.  So, I purchased Samia a seal-point, ragdoll Siamese kitten for my Christmas 2011 gift to me, we bought a new home, and planning our next vacation. After all the research on the web and everything I experienced, the inspiration for my blog had blossomed.  Taking time to experience and analyze all the things I enjoy: shopping, traveling, dining, cooking, and dining out.  Reflections.
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Rhonda Fitzgerald posted in Rhonda Fitzgerald's Blog October 9, 2013 at 06:43 am