The Journey Begins

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Amira, I’m 32, and I have a story to tell. One of my goals in life is to to be able to share my experiences in hopes of possibly helping one person before I leave this earth. Before we get into the nitty gritty of the very obvious purpose of this blog (I know the the title just has you left with no idea of what I’m going to write about), I’d like to give you a brief summary of how I came into the brilliant idea of starting this journey.

I have been sick all my life. Legitimately. Since I was born. A good part of my elementary school career was spent in bed with a fever; don’t worry, it didn’t stunt my intellectual growth. When I was 18 I was diagnosed with Lupus. Being the not rebellious at all young adult I was, I decided not to go to the experimental clinic my rheumatologist recommended, and never took the prescription I was given a subscription for. I figured I’d rather deal with whatever Lupus had to offer instead of chancing it and dealing with Lupus and possible blindness and hearing loss. THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT TO FOLLOW MY LEAD.

Let’s skip the awkward years and fast forward to age 28. I was living in San Francisco, working at an organization I had dreamt about since I was 18. One day while eating lunch, nothing crazy as I’ve always been health conscious, I noticed a sharp pain on my side. The more I ate, the more it hurt. Now, I have a very, very, high threshold for pain so when I tell you this pain brought me to my knees, you should be gasping. That was the beginning of the worst two years of my life. I could not eat anything from that moment forward. I was going from doctor to doctor, having every test known to the human and alien kind ran on me, with not one doctor being able to find what the cause was other than, “this is an autoimmune thing”. I dropped down to 95 pounds, had zero energy, and just wanted to get the hell out of SF. Turns out, that when you are malnourished, it makes you hate everything and everyone. So I quit the job I had been working towards my whole life, left my beautiful rent controlled apartment in San Francisco, and moved back to where I grew up- San Luis Obispo- to be near family as I for sure thought this was the end for me. More doctors, more tests, blah blah blah…I was beyond over it. Then I meet people along the way who genuinely cared about me and what I was going through and helped me tremendously. When I finally decided for myself that I wasn’t going out like this, I started advocating for myself and became really good at listening to my body, and then finally found a nutritionist that was able to help me, and began eating and taking a butt load (medical term) of drugs, and feeling sane again, my whole world changed. I remember thinking to myself one day laying in bed, that if I ever got better, I would like to spend the whole day, from sunrise to sunset, outdoors; being in nature and going on adventures.

Now, to the good part, and the reason you’re reading this! Today, I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life!It’s been a long road but I firmly believe that my attitude, joy for life, sense of purpose, fantastic humor, friends, and family got me through some very tough times. Most importantly, it is critical to be your own advocate, listen to your body and be kind to it.I want everyone who’s going through any kind of pain to know that if you’re fighting tired and over it, keep fighting…it’s worth it. I live every day to the fullest and have tons of fun along the way, discovering new adventures whenever I can, and always challenging myself to be better than I was yesterday. Sure, I still have not so great days but I don’t let that stop me from appreciating everyday.  My body has kicked my ass for far too long; it’s my turn to kick some ass.

A few weeks ago, I came across photos of a Spartan race and thought, “That is so bad ass. I’m doing it”. That same day, I signed up for the race and started trying to figure out how I could get in shape in time for the race. I’ll be participating in a Spartan Sprint race on June 9th. Now, for somebody who can’t even do a pull up, that’s alarmingly close, but I am determined and I will finish the race and next year I plan to do the Beast. I’m hoping you’ll follow along on my journey; laugh with me, or at me, and hopefully, learn something from me! And if you’re in the giving spirit, please check out http://www.lupusresearch.org to help find a cure for Lupus.

Wish me luck!