Still I Rise

One of my very favorite innovators and one of my favorite of her writings. I thought I would share with all of you. This was always something that helped me get through a tough day. May you all rise!

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Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 19282014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

May this beautiful soul Rest In Peace.


XOXO, 

Undefeated Me!
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Best Lupus Blogs of 2015!

I am humbled to announce that Undefeateddiva.com has made healthine.com list for Best Lupus Blogs for the second year in a row.

When I initially started writing I did it to help people to not feel alone in their journey. I quickly realized I wanted to not only help but INSPIRE. I have had the most beautiful journey since. Thank you to healthline.com for seeing this and helping my vision come true by giving me a bigger platform to reach.

Check out the list here Best Lupus Blogs 2015

With love and humility,

Undefeated Diva

  

Getting to know the new me…

Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.

I have searched for the eject button on the recent path of my journey, to no avail. In the years since my diagnosis I have done what I always do, plow through, head held high, never looking back. As of late that methodology has not been as comforting. Life’s lemons are still sitting on my porch waiting to be made into it’s potent beverage. I have stared at them not quite understanding what to do with them, as my normal kick ass, straight forward approach has had me coming up drained and in the same place. Stagnant and drained are pretty substantial words to describe my current state of being. I have pondered and scoured for an answer to the “why” and it wasn’t until several days ago that I found the answer.

Let me be clear, my friendship with my chronic illnesses is nothing new. We are several years in and I thought that I had gotten a nice hold on them. What I wasn’t ready to admit to myself or the world around me was that, I no longer knew who I saw in the mirror. She looked familiar, she sounded familiar, but all in all not the same person. Really, it should have come as no surprise to me but it surly was. As I was in my beautiful world of deep cleaning and ridiculously loud music this week, the answer to the why was so very clear.

I no longer knew myself.

For someone that knew who she was and where she was going in life at a ridiculously young age this was a catastrophic blow. It all made sense though. The feeling of being lost and alone even when I was surrounded by the people that loved me most. The feeling of unease and uncertainty when I had the best support system someone could ask for. It all made perfect sense. When all you know is this semblance of a person that handles life with a vigorous fire that can never be snuffed, then you find yourself confused and depleted from life’s lemonade, you can’t help but feel shaken down. Right now, in my life I am getting a shake down. One day I woke up and I was in another body that had unimaginable pains, unclear thoughts from what could only be described as a foggy state, and a back bone that no longer stood straight. Who was this person? How did this happen?

Getting diagnosed wasn’t the hard part, reacquainting myself… well, with myself has been the most excruciating experience. Trying to do this while living life on life’s terms, well now your asking for too much. Having to work, be a wife, a daughter, and fuck it a productive member of society… All the while trying to understand what happened to you… Now that’s a damn epic mission. Nevertheless, I realized it and all of the missing pieces came together. I hadn’t realized that it was going to be a grieving process or even a process period. The vibrant woman was now a slower moving version of who she used to be. A more jaded and fatigued version of who she used to be. The woman that looks back at me in the mirror is tired, depleted, and honestly a little angry… Not the old me that was the fire spitting free spirit with endless energy. Can I place all of the blame on chronic illnesses? Well sure I can but that’s not who I am. I take responsibility for my actions and my part in the situation. I could have done more about my illnesses. I could have done some more soul searching. In the end, I won’t look back at what I could have done, to me thats a waste of perfectly good brain cells that I should preserve for days that the brain fog sets in.

So where do I go from here I asked myself. Well to the beach of course! So I find myself at the beach, searching for answers to questions I thought I already had the answers to. I am searching for answers and way to steer this new way of life for me. To figure out how to still be that firecracker powerhouse that is determined to teach the world all the while possessing a body that does not match the soul.

What I have come to realize in all of this is, this is normal guys. I am no different than anyone going through any struggle. It is real, it is normal, and it is going to be O.K. Now I just need to find sticky notes to help with the brain fog and some great heels!

Until Next Time.

 

XOXO,

Undefeated Diva!

Healthy Alternatives- Miss Lotties Farm Review

A healthy outside starts from the inside.

Robert Urich

** Disclosure: Remedies are not one size fits all, this is what worked for me**

To say I have never felt so welcomed in someones home, would be an understatement. After several Facebook conversations with Robin, the matriarch of Miss Lotties Farm the time had come to meet her. The excitement was beyond words.

Let me start at the beginning. Hey, I live with Lupus just in case none of you knew! The pain that has accompanied my Lupus has been astronomical as of late. My amazing father (President, Technical Edge Electric) so happened to be doing some work at Miss Lotties Farm, when a conversation was had concerning what the farm represented and his beautiful daughter. (Hell Yes… That’s me 🙂 )

After doing what of course was a phenomenal job by my father, he “harassed” me to come by and drop something off. When he arrived he handed me an insulated bag and instructions. He proceeded to explain the day’s happenings and how Miss Lotties Farm came to be and why what looked like a suspicious substance was now sitting on my counter.  He explained that the suspicious substance were in fact leaves in the package, called Anamu (what a relief I was not going to be a suspect in any crime 🙂 )He went on to tell me about what Robin told him and how she wanted to be sure I researched all of the plants that Miss Lotties Farm has, prior to making any teas from the leaves. This woman obviously did not know I had a 10 degree PhD from Google University!!!

It took several day’s to finally sit and research and actually make the tea. After day 1 of drinking the tea, I was pissed at myself that I did not make the tea sooner! Although it did not fully expel my pain, it allowed for several hours of uninterrupted sleep. About a week or so after their initial meeting Robin did the one best customer service move, she reached out to both of us personally to see how things were going.  After finding her email and speaking to her for several days, we set up a face to face meet and greet. There was no way I would keep this information to myself if it actually worked but I had to be sure that I went to the farm personally and legitimized the process before sharing it with all of you!

*See peeps, I have your back. Always know I will never put something out there that I have not tried personally.*

So back to the top. Myself and a friend drove the 45 minutes or so from my home to Miss Lotties Farm. The farm itself sits on the land just behind their home, which is actually their back yard but it’s to big to constitute as a “back yard” more like a back half of a football field. Before even getting out of the car completely, I already felt welcomed. We were greeted by Robin and Ron standing at their door, and ushering us in to their beautiful home. We quickly sat on their couches and without hesitation Robin says, “I do not know much about Lupus, what is Lupus?”. I respected that she did not attempt to hide behind some Web MD facts, or some hear say. She gave me the opportunity to do what many don’t, explain that it’s not a one size fits all disease!

After a nice conversation, we were ushered outside to what was the most beautiful sight. Rows and rows of healing possibilities just outside the confines of their porch. Now, Miss Lotties Farm carries three types of trees, Anamu, Moringa, and SourSop. Both Robin and Ron walked with us and discussed the inner workings of the farm and how it came to be. We were shown to the edge of the farm and were explained the plants, the way they run the farm, and the inner functionalities of each plant they have. Not once did Robin or Ron pretend they knew everything there is to know about healing alternatives, but for just starting the farm 14 months ago they were well versed in positivity and finding natural ways to heal the ailments. They both shared several amazing stories about how the plants helped people and you know what made me smile most? The fact that telling the stories brought such amazing smiles to both of their faces. Listening to both of them and visiting the farm cemented what I already knew. It cemented that these guys were not doing this for the money or notoriety, they were in the business of helping people and they took immense pride in this.

As the visit was coming to an end, I was almost saddened that I had to leave. I felt as though I had made friends for life. I left with a bag of each plant leaves and promised them I would return soon. On my way hope I went over the day’s events and smiled at the endless possibilities. I looked down at my packages and swore to my body I would do whatever it took to heal it.

Many of you out there know that sleep deprivation is one of the top complaints from someone with a Chronic Illness. I have made tea from Soursop leaves and have to say… I have slept every night I have had the tea, and I mean slept! For someone who was so very skeptical, I am a believer! Although, I still approach every situation with a skeptical eye because remember “If I can’t trust my body, how am I supposed to trust anything else?” Christina Gorgon.

I hope if any of you get anything from this, it’s to do some research on some natural alternatives. If you decide to order from Miss Lotties Farm, know that I have personally gone there and what you will get from them is nothing short of stellar!

Heres to kicking Lupus or your chronic illnesses ass!

XOXO,

Undefeated Diva!

 

Some Information:

 

Electrical Company Mentioned:

Technical Edge Electric:

http://technicaledgeinc.com/about-technical-edge-inc-electrical-contractors/

 

A small snippet of how Miss Lotties Farm came to be:

“January 2013 our 8 year old great niece Lottie had some health issues, so her mother put her on herbal supplements. Although they were purchased from a supplier’s website outside the United States, she made some improvements. Our family had some concerns regarding the quality of the herbs, such as how and where they were being grown and processed. ”

 

For the rest of the story, please visit:

Miss Lotties Website:

http://www.misslottiesfarm.com

You can also get up to date information at:

Miss Lotties Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-Lotties-Farm/1441952372724251

 

Below I have included a small bio for two of the three plants at Miss Lotties Farm:

Anamu:

ANAMU
HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS
Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • reduces pain
  • reduces spasms
Whole herb
  • kills bacteria
  • reduces anxiety
Infusion: 1/4 to 1/2 cup 2-3
  • kills cancer cells
  • reduces fever
times daily
  • kills fungi
  • lowers blood sugar
Capsules: 1-3 g daily
  • reduces inflammation
  • kills insects
  • kills leukemia cells
  • promotes menstruation
  • reduces free radicals
  • sedates
  • prevents tumors
  • increases perspiration
  • kills viruses
  • expels worms
  • kills Candida
 
  • increases urination
 
  • enhances immunity
 

 

SourSop:

Family: Annonaceae
Genus: Annona
Species: muricata
Synonyms: Annona macrocarpa, A. bonplandiana, A. cearensis, Guanabanus muricatus
Common names: Graviola, soursop, Brazilian paw paw, guanábana, guanábano, guanavana, guanaba, corossol épineux, huanaba, toge-banreisi, durian benggala, nangka blanda, cachiman épineux
Part Used: Leaves, fruit, seeds, bark, roots

From The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:

 

GRAVIOLA
HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS
Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • kills cancer cells
  • relieves depression
Leaves
  • slows tumor growth
  • reduces spasms
Infusion: 1 cup 3 times daily
  • kills bacteria
  • kills viruses
Tincture: 2-4 ml 3 times daily
  • kills parasites
  • reduces fever
Capsules: 2 g 3 times daily
  • reduces blood pressure
  • expels worms
  • lowers heart rate
  • stimulates digestion
  • dilates blood vessels
  • stops convulsions
  • sedates

Rob, Myself, and Ron

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My Wrist Bling (Review)!

If I had my way, I’d wear jewelry, a great pair of heels and nothing else.
Jada Pinkett Smith

I love personalization… Anything with my personal touch or something sentimental has my vote!

Today, I received the most beautiful wrist bling. When I was first diagnosed, I felt like I was alone in the world on the never ending roller coaster ride filled of doctors visits and symptoms. The last 3 years have been filled with some of the most amazing moments… Today was one of them.

Last year I joined instagram and it I learned quickly the power of social media. I now never feel alone! I have a family constructed of the most beautiful and caring people in the world. In my lows I have sunshine and support, in my highs I have support and a team that would rival the olympic team.

Now, one of my beautiful Lupus Sisters makes some bling. I have seen so many of my other beautiful family members get her bling. I finally decided to jump in… and I am so excited and happy with the results.

Review:

From the first moment of interaction about the bracelet her customer service was impeccable. Foxxy took her time to explain the process in detail and took the time to ask in depth questions to get the concept of what I was looking to do. She asked questions, made suggestions, and allowed me to make a change before she sent the finished product.

Upon completion, she sent me the tracking information for my bracelets. They arrived so fast that I did not even get to the tracking information! When I opened the package, there was personalization everywhere. The personal touches and customer service were everywhere. When I opened the box, I was blown away. The quality was phenomenal. I initially had fears with the quality of a “stretchy” charm bracelet. I learned immediately that was not the case. Dare I say that my bling was better than the picture proofs she sent. When I put my bling on, the bracelet was heavy. The quality is superb. The color scheme was wonderful! Iw as so very surprised to find extra personal touches I did not see in the proof. There is nothing about the bracelets that don’t scream “I AM AMAZING and was made with love and care”. What I love most about my bling is that it was it is personal to me! It encompasses the essence of Undefeated Diva. (see photos below)

(The gloves signify undefeated)

So I say, if you are looking for impeccable customer service, personalized bling, and quality product made with love… I recommend http://foxxycharms.bigcartel.com.

 

Thank you Foxxy for my beautiful bling. I think I just found a great idea for christmas!

 

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I dare you say something!!!

“Not guilty by reason of Prednisone”
Gorgon

BOOM! You have a flare up, you stub your toe, you have chest pain, body aches. Just pick a complication, because 9 times out of 10 the treatment plan is still the same…Drum roll please….. STEROIDS… Most often Prednisone, but steroids come in several shapes and dosages.

You get sent home and reap the reprucussions of the side effects, of a medicine that is keeping you alive. The list of side effects to steroids is endless, but for me I cringe at the thought of the wrath. The silent hunger that creeps up on you and wakes you out of a dead sleep (when/if you can actually obtain it). A hunger that claws at your insides like you have not eaten in days… When honestly it has only been 2 hours! This of course is only one of many side effects. For me, a short fuse would not begin to describe the C4 loaded box in my chest. I know it’s there, I know why I am emotional, but hell if I can control the explosion once it is ignited; most often over nothing… *BOOM*

Then as the dust settles, if you are any type of human being you assess the casualties. Often times leaving in it’s wake it’s share of emotional hurt or pain. I am not saying this is right, but at least I am human enough to admit the truth. This is the problem ladies and gentlemen, often times people say they are being “real” when in all honesty it is the “real” they want to portray. Well, me, I am here to give it to you straight. If you don’t like it, well thats okay. I would be doing everyone an injustice if I sugarcoated even a word in my blogs. The down and dirty, good/bad/and sometimes ugly truth, SHIT HAPPENS and chronic illness SUCKS…

So to make me happy… Tonight as I wrote this up, I partook in a mini fiesta in my kitchen! I’ll give it to you guys, it did in fact look like I was hiding something; As I stood in the corner of my kitchen with only the light from my iPhone flashlight, going to TOWN on some amazing chips and dips… I laughed, because I sure as hell had NO SHAME! I had ignored the hunger for so long that the hunger pains actually ensued. My stomach started cramping up and the nausea kicked into hyperdrive… SO I had a choice… Eat the chocolates in my nightstand (resealable bag!) or get up and grab something more.

I will admit, I was craving the ultimate Philly Cheesesteak at that moment. In the end, I ended up with my small little fiesta and boy it was a party in my mouth! My fellow spoonies out there know what I am talking about. The first bite of whatever meal or snack you have when your on steroids is like nirvana. You could be eating a damn burnt hot dog and it tastes like the best meal in the world! My chips and dip did just that. The first bite of my chip, I threw my head back and “mmmm”. It sounds insane, because frankly it is. How could a medicine that is supposed to help you stay alive wreak so much havoc on you. Haven’t you been through enough? I mean for heaven sake you are on the medicine because you are not well.

 

NEVERTHELESS… Exhibit A below is a picture of my 12:17am fiesta! It hit the spot so well, I am thinking I may actually get some sleep tonight! SO, to my fellow spoonies out there suffering from midnight, midday, mid-second hunger/craving pains… I’VE GOT YO BACK! Ain’t No Shame In My Game! Eat, not to the point of being sick… but eat. I snack regularly, I eat fruits for snacks such as bananas (to keep the Potassium balances (Yet another problem from steroids)). I also get the 100 cal snack packs and although I may eat more than one, it is better then eating a damn Philly at 3 am!

In the end, I dare someone say something to me. I almost beg for someone to say something because I would use the opportunity to ask this…

What would you do if the medicine that was supposed to save your life, is also killing you slowly?

(YOU EAT CHIPS AND DIPS! BOOM)

🙂 Good Night and sweet dreams!

 

XOXO,

ME!

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The 26th mile…

I try to be grateful for the abundance of the blessings that I have, for the journey that I’m on and to relish each day as a gift.

Thud Thud Thud… Breath Breath Breath…
Sweat beading down my face, the air at my back. The blissful pain in my calves. The fire of another breath of air filling my lungs. The cramping in my side because I had too much water before I started. The sound of the internal thoughts and feelings running through your mind. Do you hear it? The pounding of the pavement? It’s invigorating…

I have always had an affinity for running, although the time has come in my life that I can no longer partake. In my teens I would run to stay in shape for whatever activity my beautiful ADD would obsessive over at the time. It was an amazing release! This was of course the time before iPods existed, if most can actually remember those days. Of course to carry a walkman while running was just not acceptable bulkiness, nevertheless it allowed me to become one with my emotions and my thoughts. Often times I was running around a track or down a trail either leading or following a team of girls, but honestly even back then I knew I was far beyond the mindset of the young ladies I was running with. While many worried about prom and cliques, I worried about my family and what I would amount to in life. Now, that is not to say I didn’t indulge in my formative teenage years, but anyone will tell you I was a unique mindset even then.

I have always wanted to run a marathon, more so for myself and whichever beautiful cause I was supporting at the time. I have always wondered what that last .2 miles must feel like (YES I AM AWARE A MARATHON IS NORMALLY 26 MILES AND 385YARDS, Which normally equals to 26.2 miles give or take). I have always wanted to run and know what the feeling of crossing that finish line was like. To be able to collapse to my knees and thank the lord for giving me the energy to do it. All in all a beautiful vision/ dream of mine. Knowing my family they would be there at the finish line with Wipes, TONS of water, gatorade, bananas, and last but most importantly LOTS OF HUGS AND KISSES! I would know my family was there because we are loud and we show support and love much louder than most! There would be signs and bullhorns and extra TLC at every turn.

In the recent months, and honestly since I was diagnosed with Lupus I have seen my life as a journey. I will say that the recent months though have taught me a great deal. I wasn’t allowing the journey of my life to take shape, because I wanted to control it at every turn I saw fit. If something wasn’t right, I needed to put my spin on it. I awoke myself recently in the middle of the night, covered in sweat and emotional pain that would rival most of my Lupus flares. In those moments of tears and raw pain seared emotions I realized that I wasn’t allowing things to create it’s own journey. It’s very hard for someone like me that is used to taking care of things or being the one people depend on, to not fix things. Control freak? Maybe…. Type A personality? Probably… Warrior? HELL YES!

I have used my Lupus as a weapon, which in reality is not healthy but necessary. It’s not healthy because using it as a weapon is a crutch but it is necessary for the warrior in me never to give up. Can you see I am fighting a conundrum? So I sit and I write…

I have since started allowing life’s journey to form in front of me, although never allowing it to slip from my grasp and placing the flare I so often do on things. I go back to my metaphor… Thud Thud Thud… Breath in and out… Heart rate elevated… sweat beating down my face, back, and legs… The metaphor for running for me is my current state in my journey. I feel the earth below me moving and although it is still there is a vibration in it for me. Have you ever felt your journey taking shape? Have you ever stopped for just a moment and felt life shift ever so slightly under you?

My current view in life… is just that! I feel as though I am running a marathon and I am in the home stretch, I see the finish line to the journey I am on but do not see the rest. I feel like the journey I am on is going to come to an end , but there is something so amazing about to open up. As if the next journey’s light is shining so brightly I can feel it before I even hit this journeys finish line. So here I am journey… Running… I am in the last .2 stretch of this marathon and I am gearing up for the next…

I am hoping for lots of love, laughter, and amazing energy!!!!

XOXO,

UD

Making Lupus Look Good!

Thought I would take a moment to share with all of you, the Shinanigans going on in my Instagram/Facebook world.
“My beautiful and brilliant Twisted Twin sista from another mista @lupusdiva called me out to do this sexy and beautiful Lupus Collage Challenge! Put up your sexy and gorgeous pictures so we can all continue to make lupus look amazing! Call as many lupus ladies as you would like… I call my beautiful Spoonie sisters @erinmeghan23 @walker_eleni @divacor @thuggin_wit_lupus … AND fuck it because I go against the grain my Spoonie Brother @lupusbro927 can’t leave him hanging!!!!!”

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It was nice to see all of the beautiful faces of Lupus/Chronic Illness. I wanted to share my post from IG …

XOXO,

Undefeated Diva

Even the fiery advocate gets tired…

Man has got to know his limitations. Clint Eastwood

“Oh you look better”, “you don’t look sick”… Or the ever agonizing look of pity or question of whether you are faking it…

I was ashamed of myself when I walked out of the doors of my school today. Sunglasses on, bags on my shoulders, I just left after what should have been me waiting to speak to my advisor. See, because even the fiery advocates get tired of advocating sometimes.

Unfortunately, this semester of college has been one of my toughest. I have been in the middle of a flare up of epic proportions. Although I have my good days, those have been farther and farther apart. The good days are actually bad day’s that I have medicated myself, slept for 2 days prior to them, yet still take 2 hours to get dressed. Often times I wonder if I will even make it to class most Wednesdays, never really thinking about the on-line classes I can’t seem to wrap my brain around due to the epic brain fog. Today I had the option of sitting with my advisor, which happens to also be a current professor of mine. I sat while she spoke to another student and then it hit me. I have fallen behind in her class and here I was going to sit in front of her and discuss my future. Although my face had make-up on (miracles do happen), I was put together, and standing upright she could not see the turmoil and pain I was in. The impending migraine that was threatening a night of torture and the fact that the sheer touch of my shirt to my skin felt like shards of glass. Nor would she be able to tell that my body was threatening me with the possibility of passing out from the dizziness I have had for two days. So as I sat there and watched her speak to another student, I made the decision I was allowed to say I AM DONE… for the day and leave. For a natural born advocate like myself, it was a realization. The realization that I had “given in” to the pressure of stigma, that I talked myself into walking out when I hadn’t even given her the chance to talk to me. What I did do though, was show myself that I know my limits!

Every person has their limits. Today, I knew that I had reached mine. I knew that a look from her or too many questions would have turned me into an angry and defensive me. I would have been no advocate at all, I would have been a stereotype… So I left. As I felt defeat walking out the door, I felt no more as I drove over the beautiful bridge met by sunshine and clear waters in my town. I knew I had done the right thing, which was advocate to myself and for myself that today was not the day.

So the lesson for today… Is even the strongest of us advocates gives in. Sometimes it’s ok not to “advocate”, if you know that really you are causing more harm than advocacy.

XOXO,
Tired Undefeated Diva

Today’s soul soothing quote!

Innovation is NOT born from the dream, innovation is born from the struggle!

Remember this in the middle of your struggles!
Remember this in the middle of a storm!
Remember this in the middle of chaos!

For the only certain thing in life is CHANGE. To obtain positive and life altering change, sometimes chaos, storms, and struggles are necessary!

Xoxo,
Undefeated Diva