It IS Possible to Thrive with Lupus…
Welcome! My name is Khadija and I’m a Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach, as well as Head Thriver, medical researcher and the writer behind “Thrive with Lupus”. This website is part of my bigger mission- to empower patients to become active participants in improving their health and wellness by focusing on self-care and looking at ALL of the treatment options available- both traditional and “alternative”.
As the site grows, you’ll find helpful articles, new research, expert interviews patient stories and empowering programs and resources to help you thrive. A portion of proceeds from all programs are donated to support services and research in aid of the lupus and autoimmune community.
What Makes This Site Different?…
It has become my passion project to spark a new dialogue around lupus and other autoimmune and chronic diseases. It looks a little something like this:
- Why are so many more people becoming ill, year after year?
- What if you could directly impact how your genes are expressed, lessening your likelihood of illness?
- Why do physicians receive less than four hours of nutrition training while in medical school?
- Why is current medical research largely exclusionary of diet, emotional state and lifestyle as a precursor to the development of an autoimmune condition?
- Why are natural and effective therapies and treatment options dismissed as dangerous and ineffective, yet chemical prescriptions are handed out like candy and rarely bring about a considerable improvement in quality of life?
- Why is it assumed that lupus and other AI illnesses are a lifetime sentence? What if it were possible to reverse your condition?
…These are just some of the questions that led me to where I am today and a conversation that I think we need to engage in as a community of patients, doctors and caregivers.
My goal is to foster a platform which brings together empowered patients with thought leaders in the medical and holistic services community. Together, we can bring about change in the way autoimmune diseases are viewed, funded, researched and treated. You are NOT a victim of circumstance.
Together we can help patients to take back their power, put themselves first and move from simply surviving to thriving.
There is a lot planned for this community. Make sure to register for my newsletter to stay in the loop and receive “Thrive in Five” The Five Keys to Go from Merely Surviving, to THRIVING! You’ll also be the first to know about new articles, free classes, interviews and health programs. I can’t wait to get to know you better!
My Patient Story
I share my story to let you know that I understand what you’re dealing with- because I’ve been there and I’m deeply invested in helping as many people as possible improve their health.
I’ve been on both sides of the coin, as I spent 10 years working in medical management, first fort a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company, then for a large Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory (where docs send your blood, urine, etc samples for testing), with offices across the country. I share this to show that I have that insider clinical background, as well as the perspective of a patient who had to go through the system. It can be arduous for someone in the know to navigate the world of the newly diagnosed, let alone someone with no background in health- which is why so many just accept whatever they are told by their docs. But as you’ll come to know, I tend to be somewhat of a rebel…
I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2005 after a year and a half of debilitating symptoms. Although I’m not on any medications for lupus now, this was not always the case. I had very serious symptoms and the disease affected just about every part of my body, including joints, skin, hair, lungs, neurological system and blood vessels. I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Unspecified Lung Disease, Connective Tissue Disorder, Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Reynaud’s Phenomenon.
Needless to say, the period leading up to my diagnosis was quite overwhelming. Especially as I was raising two children alone, juggling a full time career in Health Care Management and studying for my degree in Business Administration in the evening.
I was seeing four doctors regularly to monitor my condition, including a rheumatologist and a lung specialist. The doctors were quick to prescribe numerous medications in the hope of suppressing my symptoms and masking the pain- which they never successfully did. The entire process was very frustrating and the solutions I was given by my doctors, which caused numerous side effects just did not satisfy me.
The Holistic Journey Begins
Instead of quickly whipping out the prescription pad, I felt that my medical team should be trying to find out why a reasonably healthy 25 year old woman (at that time) had suddenly become so ill. What was the root cause and how could it be treated and reversed? No such answers were forthcoming.
Unfortunately mainstream doctors are largely trained to only diagnose and prescribe, not to actually heal. It is not their fault, as this is how Western medical education is taught. You prescribe a pill, perform surgery, or apply massive doses of radiation to the problem. And sadly, the cycle is usually repeated a few months later, as the root cause of the illness was never really addressed.
Never one to accept the status quo, I begin researching alternatives. I had some experience with Alternative Medicine as my mother was certified in Reiki and massage. I had also eaten very healthy and largely vegetarian for parts of my childhood and had very little illness then. The more I read and learned, the more I became convinced that diet, stress and lifestyle has a tremendous effect on illness. Armed with my research, I set out to prove my theory.
In addition to my personal research, I apprenticed myself to naturopathic doctors, herbalists and colon hydro-therapists. I developed a holistic lifestyle plan for myself that included changes in diet, exercise that increases flexibility, detoxing my colon during a three month cleanse, taking supplements to bolster nutrition, employing meditation and stress reduction techniques and so much more.
The Result? Amazing!
I went from barely being able to move from chronic fatigue, muscle and joint pain to having the energy to start my own natural skin care line and attend craft shows and pamper parties around the state (lugging a heavy table and cases of product).
My swelling went down, hair grew back and skin cleared up. I was able to breathe without constant pain and get through the day without needing several naps. I had a renewed energy for life and couldn’t help sharing what I learned with anyone who would listen.
What I Learned
- Your body can only take stress and exhaustion for so long before it will cease to function properly and become susceptible to illness.
- Diet absolutely has an impact on health and the development of disease. You literally are what you eat.
- Seasonal detox is a must for filtering out waste and keeping your immune system normalized and able to deal with real invaders. The saying “death starts in the colon” is absolutely true.
- Self care, spirituality and good relationships are as important – and often more so- than diet in maintaining health.
- Value yourself enough to set boundaries, as well as ask for help when needed.
- Live for a cause, not just BEcause
A New Calling
As a result of everything that I’ve gone through and learned in the process, I’ve found my cause. It has propelled me conduct hundreds of hours of research into what promotes optimal health and wellness. I am so committed to helping others along this path that I went back to school for certification as a Holistic Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
There, I’ve learned from such esteemed teachers as Dr. Mark Hyman, Michael Pollan, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Bernie Siegel, John Douillard and many more. Not only did I study over 100 different dietary theories, but this program reinforced my belief that treating the whole person and balancing all aspects of your life is the real key to good health and longevity.
Women are dealing with an epidemic of illness and it’s striking earlier than ever. Many of the health complaints we suffer from, including autoimmune disorders, depression and weight gain are due to a lack of balance, including chronic stress, lack of self-care and poor diet.
My goal is to support women in making positive changes that will not only address the root cause of their health issues, but dramatically increase their overall happiness and fulfillment in the world. It’s not just about taking supplements or trying the newest fad diet. Lasting health comes from nourishing the mind, body and spirit simultaneously, as they are all connected. I have plans to build this into a thriving community resource that will bring information and empowerment to women suffering from lupus. You CAN thrive. I am honored to help you along the way.