Location: Los Angeles, CA
How have your conditions affected you? When I first found out, I went numb; I shut down emotionally and physically. For weeks I couldn't feel, taste or smell. I was in a haze; angry and ashamed. It took me a while to share the news with my family. In the early days of learning to live with this, I was forced to modify my work schedule and social life; I just couldn't keep up. Living with this has changed my lifestyle and how I do things, but not what I do or who I am. It forced me to re-evaluate my priorities and dreams, but never abandon them. It has made me look deeper inside and see what kind of person I am and how I deal with my challenges. I never gave up the things I love; I'm more dedicated to my yoga practice now than ever. I believe it keeps my body healthy and my mind strong. Every day is a test of patience, and I never realized my strength and perseverance until now. I've learned to embrace the challenges and find the beauty in it. This has taught me to be kinder to myself.
What would you like for other people to know about your conditions? Looks can be deceiving. I can't tell you how many times people have said, "You look great, you don't look sick". We look deceivingly healthy but deep down there is a struggle inside that no one can see. I feel different every day. Some days I need three naps to make it through the day, and other days I feel great, so maybe only one! The medicines are powerful. They throw me off balance. During the day, I can be edgy and short tempered, and for three months I couldn't sleep through the night. Oh, the joys of prednisone. I was not myself, but understand that it is the medication and not you. Sometimes it hurts me more emotionally than it does physically.
What would you like to tell someone who is recently diagnosed with your conditions? Be truthful to yourself. Acceptance takes time and is a journey of its own. You will go through a range of emotions, know that it's okay. Be present. Even in the darkest of days, the light will shine. Let it in. Trust your family and friends; they need you as much as you need them. Reach out to peers with similar experiences; I didn't realize how therapeutic it can be. Confide in a friend or someone who sees you every day to keep you aligned. Don't compare your symptoms to others, your experience is unique. Trust your body, if something doesn't feel right, tell your doctor. Eat well, exercise, believe, smile, breathe, laugh, and show up every day. Know that you will get better!
Adina's favorite quote: "Your life doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." ~ her Dad
Thank you so much Adina!