I have been writing for a few years about why certain celebs who have lupus do not talk about it publicly. Thankfully, singer/entertainer Toni Braxton is making more television appearances opening up about her lupus diagnosis.
Braxton was on the Dr. Phil Show this week discussing it on an ending segment. I thought the topic was kind of thrown in last minute because lupus had nothing to do with the initial subject matter of the show.
Dr. Phil occasionally invites Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Chief Medical Officer of Pfizer, to answer various medical questions. This segment, she discussed autoimmune diseases, lupus in particular.
When Dr. Lewis-Hall was describing what lupus is and its symptoms, she described it to a "T". Each description had a nod of agreement from me with every word.
Dr. Lewis-Hall described lupus as being a disease where the immune system attacks itself. The immune system generally ward off infection and other invaders that would cause illness. The person with lupus has an immune system that does the opposite. The immune system is confused and attacks healthy tissues.
When this happens, there is damage or potential damage to internal and external organ systems. Joint and muscle pain and chronic fatigue are the most common symptoms a person with lupus experiences.
Braxton explained to Dr. Phil that having lupus felt like having the flu all of the time. Each person's symptoms vary from day to day but I can attest to the feeling of stiffness and barely being able to get in and out of bed.
Like Braxton, who was diagnosed with lupus in 2008, I was diagnosed in 2004 but prior to that, I was given different labels before a concrete diagnosis.
Braxton's next television appearance was on the Wendy Williams Show. She looked more happy and relaxed as I'm sure that Wendy has a way of making her guests feel. Besides Wendy, though, I could tell that Braxton was having a great day. She even declared it and I know the feeling!
That's the thing about lupus. When you're up, you better enjoy it. When you're down, boy are you down. Lupus can be maintained with proper medications, getting the proper rest, and of course, having a great support system.
Braxton has come a long way in dealing with her lupus. I remember reading about her dizzy spells and fainting and hospitalizations. Her life story "Un-Break My Heart" on Lifetime was very touching. It detailed her very stressful career and the effect it had on her lupus.
Braxton is now like many of us lupus sufferers; when we know better, we do better. It takes a few ups and downs before we get to know what our triggers are when it comes to flare ups. It is then when we truly realize what's important in our lives and what isn't.
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Filed under: Lupus