The summer 2013 edition of Lupus Now magazine features entertainer Nick Cannon (husband of singer Mariah Carey) who was diagnosed with lupus kidney disease (lupus nephritis) in January 2012. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the otherwise normal immune system gets confused due to viral inflammation or other factors, attacking its own tissues that causes damage or potential damage to internal and external organ systems. Because of this fact, it's easy for lupus sufferers initially to blame or dismiss physical discomfort or lethargy on something else, as lupus is tough to diagnose right away.
For instance, those who suffered from chronic fatigue may blame it on not getting enough sleep. Others who suffered from joint and muscle pain may blame it on vigorous physical activity, such as lifting heavy objects over time, etc. I personally dismissed my chronic fatigue on the physical burnout of taking care of my autistic sons. Cannon initially thought that his fatigue and swelling was due to the high elevation in Colorado, where he and his family was vacationing. He later experienced trouble breathing and pain in his kidneys that made him seek medical help. He was hospitalized on January 4, 2012 and the tests confirmed the diagnosis.
The great thing about Cannon was that he was no longer in denial and took the immediate and necessary steps toward recovery. As a celebrity, I'm sure his schedule is more hectic than others. However, because he is used to juggling a lot of projects at once like most of us, he suffered a setback because "I tried to maintain the stamina I had before", he states. I can definitely relate on being excited with getting back in the game of life the moment I began to feel better. I have suffered a few setbacks or flare-ups because of it. This is the greatest challenge for lupus sufferers who are accustomed to being independent. We are not used to others waiting on us; it seems as though they are not moving fast enough for us!
Cannon is pretty stabilized now due to proper diet, rest, exercise. Once on twenty medications or more to suppress his overactive immune system, including the common chemotherapy drug CellCept, he is now down to five medications and a "very low dosage" of prednisone. Cannon offers this advice to those newly diagnosed with lupus: "Get as much education on the disease as possible. That builds your self-esteem and your confidence. The more you know and the better you take care of yourself, the easier it is to deal with."
My sentiments exactly.
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Filed under: Lupus