I Thank G-d Every Day That My Lupus came Back
I was born in the mid seventies and was diagnosed with Lupus when I was in Nursery school (Kindergarten). As a child I was always sick, always had red angry looking cheeks (the signature of Lupus), always was in pain somewhere in my body, always on antibiotics for some or other infection.
My mom took me to a homeopath who was also a GP and she helped me go into remission in my teens. I lived a pretty normal life after that. My mom (who is a Professor of physiotherapy and an acupuncturist) always warned that since Lupus is an autoimmune disease I had to be very careful about getting sick with anything. She explained that for me to even get a cold would switch my Lupus back on. Try explaining autoimmune to a teenager. It doesn’t really compute. Since I was well at that time, I was not particularly concerned either. In case you are not aware: an autoimmune disease means that your body is unable to distinguish between self and other and when you get sick it will attack itself instead of attacking and destroying the pathogen. In practical terms, if I got a cold my immune system, instead of destroying the cold, would mistakenly attack my cells, weakening and destroying me instead. Thus the protocol whenever I got sick was to always receive an antibiotic and with that I always avoided catastrophe and stayed pretty ‘healthy.’
As I got older I developed some other health issues and by the time I made Aliyah in my early forties, I brought with me to Israel: an underactive thyroid, extremely bad migraines (that would get me admitted to hospital every time), osteoporosis and a few other issues as well. When I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid in my early 40’s, my doctors in South Africa explained that my Lupus (even though it was in remission at that time) attacked my thyroid, causing Hashimotos Thyroid Disease.
I didn’t think much of this and I felt pretty healthy. Most people you know are on medication for something or another these days, especially as we age, right? I felt pretty healthy in my early forties, just chugging along like everyone else. Swallowing a few pills every day, like everyone else.
I arrived in Israel just before winter. Winter brought with it flu season. I got the usual cold, more like a sinus / ear infection, and despite going to various GPs and Terem was not given an antibiotic like I needed. I did explain that I had Lupus but the doctors did not believe me because my blood tests looked completely normal. My White Blood cell count and platelets and other indicators were all normal (when I made Aliyah). I remember having an ear infection and being in so much pain, pain that I had never been in before. I cried on the phone to my Mom, I had never been in such pain before. I’d never felt so invisible before. The “cold” stayed with me for four months. I could not get rid of it. And I finally managed to change to a lovely GP that told me it had developed into pneumonia. She put me on the right antibiotic and all became well again.
Two months later I got pneumonia again.
I noticed after that, I started getting fevers without being sick. Fevers for no reason at all. My cheeks had become red again like when I was little. And I felt awful all the time. As a side point, I remember reading when I was a teenager that Lupus was considered the hypochondriac’s disease, because you looked fine on the outside but inside your body was destroying itself and no one could see. When I read that I really related. Because even though I went into remission at a pretty young age, when I did get the flu, I felt REALLY BAD. And it made me feel very alone.
I realised I had to go see my GP about these fevers. I suspected something was up with my Lupus. When I went to see her I showed her a bruise that I had gotten from tripping over something in the street. The bruise started on the front of my leg by my ankle, it went all the way up to my knee and wrapped its way around my calf towards the back. When she looked at it she said it wasn’t normal and I needed to see a Rheumatologist.
After doing blood tests, they found that in 4 short months: my platelets had more than halved, my White blood cell count had dropped from 8 to 3. What we were seeing was the result of my body attacking itself. My own body was destroying its own cells. I finally truly understood what autoimmune means.
They wanted to put me on very strong medication to turn off my immune system. I had been given such strong medication when I was little. My Mom said it made me very sick which is why she opted to take me to a homeopath. I was extremely fortunate growing up to have my Mom as my Mom. Her brother (my uncle) is also a Professor of Oncology in the USA, so I always had access to a tremendous source of knowledge.
I told my GP that I had gone into remission as a child and I asked her to give me a few months to try find an alternative solution instead of having to take medication which would turn off my immune system. She agreed. Thank G-d she did.
I managed to find an acupuncturist that gave me Chinese herbs. With it, it improved my blood tests a little bit. It was extremely expensive and the herbs cost me ₪ 800 for 2 weeks worth. But I still felt really bad. I felt just awful. I stopped taking her herbs because things were not changing for me in the way that I needed them to change.
I was very worried about my Lupus. Seeing how sick it had made me in such a short space of time after making Aliyah, I felt I had to look for a healthcare solution for myself. I needed to find some way to deal with my Lupus, that put me in control. That I didn’t need to rely on anyone or anything to make me better. So I began searching for a solution for my Lupus.
At the same time I was struggling with my weight. I had put on 10kg due to my under active thyroid. I was feeling so miserable. So not like myself. I decided to buy a book on Traditional Chinese Medicine weight loss to see what it had to say. My Mom is an acupuncturist and I had always responded very well to acupuncture. I grew up with lots of Acupuncture books around the house that I always used to thumb through when I was growing up. One thing I always remember these books saying, was that the body has the ability to self heal. In my mind I always changed that to: people who are not born with disease, their bodies have the ability to self heal. Since I had had Lupus since I was young, I did not include myself in that statement. I saw this same statement in this book about weight loss. It irritated me a little bit. But I decide to be open. In this book I read about something called Qi Gong. It is a form of exercise, that includes a moving meditation, mindfulness and breathwork. What struck me was that all of these components are prevalent topics worldwide in today’s healthcare conversation. So this sounded like it could be something very positive! The book spoke about how it could help the body heal from the worst diseases and illnesses. Could this also help my Lupus, I wondered. Could this be what I was looking for?
I asked my Mom if she knew about it, because it was a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She had heard about it but didn’t know much about it. I started to research it. I learned that through Qi Gong we can stimulate all the acupuncture points along the meridians and get the body to correct itself. I was very skeptical but I was also very desperate. I was feeling so so awful. I had read about people with Lupus going into organ failure and dying. I was terrified. I didn’t actually think it could help my Lupus. I wanted to try it to help me lose the thyroid weight. My endocrinologist had told me it was very normal to gain 8kg with an under active thyroid, and that it was weight that could not be lost because it was inflammation. I wasn’t even sure that it would help me lose weight. I remember thinking if I could lose just 2kg I would be delighted.
I began doing Qi Gong. To cut a long story very short, slowly slowly things started to change for me. The first thing I noticed that was at the end of the day my stomach was not bloated anymore. I noticed that when I did get a cold, it was much less severe and much shorter. I noticed that my sleeping improved (I have had insomnia since childhood). Slowly slowly lots of things improved for me. And.. the big and.. I lost 10kg! My Lupus completely reversed. My osteoporosis reversed. I no longer get migraines. I have not needed an antibiotic for a few years now. And much much more…
It took a few years. It didn’t happen over night. My GP recently asked me what I take that my Vitamin D levels are so good. I don’t take anything and she responded to say she can see Qi Gong is keeping all my hormonal levels balanced in my body. She said my weight and blood sugar levels are perfect, which she said attributed to Qi Gong.
I never had any expectation that all these things would change for me. But I can see now that the body does have the ability heal. Even bodies like mine that are diagnosed with big life illnesses from so young. I realize now looking at how everything unfolded I really am lucky that my Lupus came back, because it forced me to go searching. I found what I was looking for and my life changed completely! I truly do thank G-d every day that my Lupus came back when it did, because it lead me to a whole new life. And that life is great!
I have subsequently become a Qi Gong teacher. If you are wondering if all these changes happened because I became a teacher. No they did not. I reversed my health before becoming a Qi Gong teacher. Qi Gong is not only for reversing illness but it is preventative medicine. It prevents us from developing illnesses, improves sleep patterns, increases productivity, releases stress and trauma, improves fitness and helps the body avoid injuries. It’s fun to do and you feel refreshed, replenished, peaceful and calm after a class! You can read more about this on my website.
I teach classes in person in Ra’anana – more details can be seen at www.qigonginthepark.co.il – I teach indoors and outdoor classes (in winter only indoors).
And, a very big exciting and… I also offer online Qi Gong courses that can be done anytime, anywhere on www.dailycupofqi.com