Lupus Survivor for over 20 years, fabulous my whole life!
I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 14 years old. That same week, three of my childhood friends were in a tragic car accident that killed two of them. I decided then that no matter what lupus threw at me in the future, I was going to embrace life. Over the years I have had the support of two loving parents, a huge extended family, friends, colleagues, teachers, and sometimes even strangers.
Being sick, tired, and sick-of-being-sick-and-tired is a drag. So I decided long ago that even though I could not do anything about having lupus, I could control whether or not I enjoyed life.
Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be smart, successful, and fabulous. Dolly Parton was my style icon! And I thought I would grow up to be an anthropologist, archeologist, architect, author, journalist, real-estate mogul, city-planner, physicist, the president, or someone like Oprah. Finding out I had a very painful, chronic disease with no known cure was a huge set-back to my dreams. Even though my career goals morphed over the years in response to the day-to-day realities of having lupus, I never gave up on being smart, successful, and fabulous. I set my life goal bars pretty high so that I would have something to look forward to. They are: Exceeding expectations, going for the gold, having a fun, peaceful, joyful, pain-free life and having great shoes.
It hasn’t always been easy. And I certainly couldn’t have done it alone. But over the years, I have carved out that smart, successful, fabulous life for myself. I graduated high school, then college, then went on to earn my doctorate in American politics. I’ve had success in the work-world as well. I combined my love of journalism and popular culture with my political science expertise to teach courses on political communication for over 10 years. Now I am working within the field of education research, where I oversee several research programs and the training and development of doctoral students. (See my official bio on KatinaRaeStapleton.com if you would like more details).
But the accomplishment that has brought me the most joy is being involved in the lupus community in the DC metro area. in 2008, an invitation to a lupus fundraiser held by my sorority Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. led to my volunteering at the 2009 DC Walk for Lupus Now and then forming my own 2010 team that raised over $1500 for the Lupus Foundation of America, DC/MD/VA (DMV) chapter. Then, I was both blessed and honored when the Lupus Foundation-DMV invited me to join their development committee and be the 2011 DC Walk for Lupus Now co-chair.
Meeting the wonderful women (and men) that are part of the DC metro lupus community has taught me the power of sharing life stories. As I meet others with the disease, I am struck by how much I learn from how they have dealt with their own personal lupus trials and tribulations. And others have told me much the same-that listening to my “lupus story” has helped them deal with their own struggles.
Butterfly Lessons (the blog) is my way of sharing my story and providing helpful tips and lessons learned to others on the same road.
I hope that Butterfly Lessons in touches your life in a positive (fabulous) way.