Before I jump into things, I first wanted to say thank you so much! It has been an unreal journey these past 4 years (can you believe it’s already been 4 years?!) learning how to live a life with lupus, and it blows me away every time we go to fundraise and you guys are right there ready to support me before I even ask. I am humbled every year. It’s as if I’m hiking up this steep hill all alone, feeling the intensity of the sun, growing weaker with each step, then as I stop to catch my breath in hopelessness, I turn around, and there’s actually a sea of people cheering me on. Every time I feel ready to give up, it’s the thought of your support that always pushes me to keep going. Even when I can’t hope for myself, I cling to all the hope you guys have for me. So, thank you so much.
2020 has been a farrrr from perfect year, am I right? So many losses - graduations, weddings, parties, and just simple gatherings with friends and families - all in the name of protecting our health. Our own health, the health of others, and most especially the health of the vulnerable. It’s led us to the most unprecedented, and possibly most fearful and anxious times most of us have ever lived through because, for the first time, every single person’s health is suddenly on the line. Health - something most people never think about, especially in my generation. Many people haven't been to a doctor’s office in years, and some don’t even have a primary care physician (or know what that is). But suddenly, health is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Anxiety is high because we have no idea what this virus actually is. While there are some general symptoms patients share, it seems to manifest in different ways person to person. And without fully understanding what the virus is, we have no way of knowing how to actually treat it - so as of right now, there is no cure. There are many theories out there, but no direct answer. And until we find that vaccine, we are left to live in fear, taking all the necessary precautions - stocked up on all the toilet paper, bought out all the hand sanitizer and lysol wipes, limited the number of people that have to leave the house and the number of times they have to, and baked all the bread our yeast could provide ;)
And all I be honest, as soon as we went into quarantine in March, a part of me thought “Welcome.” Not that I was happy everyone was put in this situation, I would never wish this level of fear and anxiety on anyone, but everything we are living through right now is almost a direct parallel of what it’s like to live with lupus. Before 2016, my physical health was something I never had to think about. I relied on the fact that I was more or less capable of lifting weights, running, and swimming (no matter how sparse and minimal my work out sessions were ;)). And I loved hiking, so there was no way I was gonna let my health get in the way of that. But when October 2016 came around, none of that mattered. For whatever reason (although I’m willing to bet it was the extreme stress I was going through), lupus became active in my body. I learned later that while there are common symptoms patients share - hair loss, butterfly rash, fatigue - it still manifests different person to person. For me, it manifested itself in my kidneys. How lupus works is that my immune system gets so overactive that it starts attacking my healthy cells/tissues/organs. By the time they caught my lupus in November, I was already at stage 4 lupus nephritis, a stage they said was very uncommon. I swear my health issues jumped from zero to a hundred that month I was in and out of the hospital, and I think if we’re honest, a lot of us weren’t sure if I’d make it out alive, myself included. But praise the Lord, the Lord sent the exact doctors I needed at the exact time I needed them, and still continues to!
I am forever amazed at the medical team, the Lord has blessed me with. So good, I don’t think I could ever leave the Bay again (you’re welcome, parents ;)). I never feel safer than when I’m under their care, even if it’s not always good news they have for me. And unfortunately, that’s where I’ve found myself this entire 2020. While my organs have not been in danger (praise the Good Lord!), my lab numbers just don’t seem to be getting better, and it feels all too familiar to the days of my diagnosis. And because lupus is so unpredictable, both in when it’ll hit and how it’ll hit, and because I’m taking an immunosuppressant, I have had to take all the necessary precautions and be extrrrra careful with everything. My doctor always says, “we all need to be good at stress management, eating healthy, exercising, sleeping well, but you need to be even better than us” - which can mean saying no to hang outs, no to work, no to even hikes/runs/walks that put me in the sun (a trigger to lupus). While I’m blessed with an amazing medical team and a beautiful support system from y’all, lupus has still brought me many losses these 4 years and continues to leave me in a certain level of fear and anxiety, as we go year after year without a cure. And to top off the anxiety of lupus with the fear of covid, lupus patients now have the added stress of possibly having less accessibility to our main medication - hydroxychloroquine, the medication I personally take daily and am told will be taking for the rest of me life.
As lay people far outside of the medical research world, there’s not much we can do to help the search for a cure of lupus. But what we can do is help fund the research for a cure for lupus! In light of these unprecedented times and necessity to social distance, we are not able to do our usual fundraisers this year like the wine and dine auction, but we are still committed to doing what we can to raise funds! This year as I ask you consider making a donation, I’d also like to ask if you would consider asking your company to match your donation. Any little bit counts :) My goal is to reach $5000 by my 30th birthday on September 28!
Thank you all so much, and please be assured of my prayers! Love you all!
As a thank you for your donation, we would like to gift you with homemade treats from Mare-ienda Bakery. I have been using this time of social distancing to perfect my favorite merienda (filipino snacks) recipes and am excited to share with you all! Depending on your amount, you can receive pandesal or ensaymadas. Because these will be hand-delivered, we are only able to offer gifts within 80 miles at any direction from Fairfield, CA. Team Laudate will reach out to you with further information about your gift.
1 dozen homemade pandies
1 dozen homemade pandies + small jar of homemade cheese pimiento spread
a tray of 9 homemade ensays (classic only)
1 dozen homemade pandies + small jar of homemade cheese pimiento spread + 1 bottle of red wine
a tray of 9 homemade ensays (classic or cream cheese) + 1 bottle of red wine