Alisha Tells Her Story
I was diagnosed at the age of 26yo with Systemic Lupus Erythemotous. I was an ER Nurse at the time and was struggling with being able to do my job due to the joint pain that I had suddenly developed. Walking down steps was the hardest thing for me to do along with getting out of the bed. I was tested and began a 9 year adventure of being what felt like a lab rat. I’m a very determined person and refused to let this disease take control of my life. There were times that I felt defeated and extremely depressed because I could not get up.
Between swollen lymph nodes, joints locked into place, fevers, pain, malaise, I was miserable. My skin became affected, and then Raynauds (Raynaud’s disease is a vasospastic disorder – spasms in the blood vessels lead to vasoconstriction/narrowing.) set in to my fingers and toes. This was secondary to my Lupus and caused me to be placed on more medications. Prednisone became my best friend for the next 8 1/2 years. I was on a fairly high dose of Prednisone daily and when in an active flare I would be on 40 – 30 mg for an extended period of time until I could get back to my usual dose of 20mg a day.
I wanted children very badly and after a miscarriage was blessed with a baby Girl in 2007. My Lupus was under control during the pregnancy but 3 months later my health went haywire. I then became pregnant with my 2nd daughter but this time I was not so lucky with this pregnancy and my Lupus. I was induced at 35 weeks unexpectedly due to the threat of losing my own life in 2009. The hopes that my pregnancy would put the Lupus into remission during this pregnancy was not the case. From this point on I struggled with my Lupus and my weight. During pregnancy I was 232 pounds and 5’1″.
I continued to struggle and battle my Lupus and weight for the next several years trying HCG injections and weight watchers. I would try to exercise but the pain was difficult to deal with. I began to struggle with acid reflux and in the beginning of 2011 I had an endoscopy done. They stated I needed a surgery to correct my reflux that is usually done in elderly people. My Lupus flared right after this and it took 80mg of Prednisone for several months to get my Lupus under control.
In April 2011, I decided to take matters into my own hands and went to a personal trainer. I was 212 pounds at this time and needed help. I continued to have multiple flares and complications with my Lupus. I had tried a new IV therapy medication which completely wiped out my immune system causing me to be susceptible to more sickness than usual. I then suffered a GI Bleed which they felt came from an intestinal virus, ecoli, etc. My skin reacted to the sun with multiple blisters and my Lupus flared up constantly feeling as if I kept the flu. It had now started affecting my muscles. I continued with a personal trainer but ventured to the Sports Center to try a new trainer and facility in November 2011. This is where I was introduced to Vitality Medical Wellness Institute. I started the program in January 2012 with Dr. Galvin and his staff. Strange as it was, Dr. Galvin was one of the ER physicians I had worked with in the very beginning when I was 26yo and having my first symptoms of Lupus. He has truly seen me progress since January.
Alisha’s Q & ABefore joining a Vitality Medical Wellness Institute program, I had tried:
Weight Watchers multiple times throughout the years, HCG injections with low calorie diet and phentermine, exercising on and off with just trying to watch what I was eatting.When I began the program I felt:
I just began with a new personal trainer and he recommended that all of his clients go to see Dr. Galvin at Vitality Medical Wellness Institute.
He explained that he felt it would be beneficial to me due to my health and illness. I was skeptical at first and eventually after approximately one month decided to give it a try. I continued to be skeptical about food causing inflammation and that the program could help my Lupus. I have lived for 9 years with the diagnosis of Lupus and felt that it was normal for me to wake up daily with joint pain, fatigue and to have a mental fog.
I felt that would be the state I would live in for the remainder of my life. I never wanted anyone to know I had an illness or to judge me. I never wanted my children to know that their Mommy was sick or tell their friends that their Mommy was sick all the time. I never thought I would be able to keep up with my children and afraid they would notice. I wanted and still want to be their superwoman and hero and for them to say “My Mommy can do anything!”As I progressed through the program, I was surprised that:
I spoke with my Rheumatologist regarding the program and she was in agreement to give it a try. Over the next several weeks I noticed a decrease in the amount of joint swelling and inflammation. Approximately 4 weeks into the program I noticed that the majority of my joint pain was gone. I was in disbelief and on my follow-up with the Rheumatologist, she was amazed too.What I like about the program best is:
It has improved my health beyond belief. I live pain free now except for the pain I induce in my muscles through CrossFit just like a normal person would. I can wake up in the mornings and not feel like I am 90 years old and trying to losen up my joints in a hot shower so I can move.
I’m not telling my children “maybe another day we can because Mommy doesn’t feel good”. I no longer have to take prednisone!!!!!Other people now say to me:
My biggest compliment is my husband telling me that I have been such an inspiration to him that he began the program several months ago at Vitality MWI. Things people say are “Oh wow, how much weight have you lost?” I love to tell them 80 pounds so far!
“Hey skinny Minnie!” “I didn’t recognize you at first. Wow, you have lost so much weight”. “What are you doing to lose weight?” I love this because I can then explain what the program does for me. “You look like you are glowing!” “You look like you are in your 20s”, this one I love to hear but of course all women would. “You look amazing!” My parents: “We are so proud of you. You don’t look like the daughter we had came to except over the past 8 years.” My sister: “What happened to the other half of my sister?”. Other things, “you look hot”, which turns my face red!When I see people in the same situation I want to tell them:
That this program and way of eating can help you with your pain and change your life. I try to explain the inflammatory process of the foods that we put in our bodies to them. That they do not have to live trapped inside of a sick body taking a ton of medicines that cover up one thing but create another problem for more meds to be introduced. I love to talk to people that don’t have autoimmune disorders also and explain how important it is to know what the foods they place in their mouths are doing to their bodies. I tell them about Vitality MWI. I’m not afraid anymore to tell someone that I have Lupus but I now live pain free!The most important thing I want to say is:
I am living proof that it can help. I explain to people now that I have Lupus, which I never wanted anyone to know prior to January. I love to see the reaction and their facial expressions, especially when I have worked out beside of them in CrossFit for months and they never knew I had an illness. I get, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know that”. I usually respond with that’s ok because I don’t have any problems with my Lupus right now thanks to Vitality MWI and their program.Tell us about your hobbies and/or profession:
I’m a Registered Nurse that works conducting Forensic Interviews and exams on children of possible sexual or physical abuse. I work full time and take call for a week at a time every 3rd week and have done this for 9 years. It is a very high stress, emotional job. I’m married and have a 4yo and a 3yo daughter. I’m addicted to CrossFit which I take at theSports Center in Concord, NC. I do CrossFit approximately 3 to 4 times a week.How has your program affected these aspects of your life?
I’m able to think more clearly instead of feeling that I’m in a Lupus fog as they call it. I have a ton more energy. I feel like I glow and love to make eye contact with people going down the hall where I would have looked away before. My husband and family are proud of me which means a lot. I live without joint pain which has affected every aspect of my life from moving to simply living and enjoying life.Additional comments?
The staff and physicians at Vitality MWI are amazing. They explain everything to you, guide you through the program, support you when you struggle or need the extra support. They celebrate the accomplishments with you as they watch you progress. They encourage you and give you the tools you need to become successful. They become part of your family! The staff is also very active in using the program and doing CrossFit also which amazes me and keeps me motivated. I love getting to work out with them. Also, Jesse has become such an inspiration to me and I am honored to say I know him and have been truly blessed to have him as a friend. I’m also gracious for what they have done for my husband that has also become a success story himself!
I can’t say enough how gracious I am for Vitality MWI to have become part of my life and my family. Without them I would still be waking up on a daily basis thinking it was normal to hurt. Pain is not normal people and I’m living proof that this program can change you life for the better!