By Rebecca Drew
THIS INSPIRATIONAL young woman refuses to let herself be defined by Lupus after she was diagnosed with the auto-immune disorder when she was just eight-years-old after STREP THROAT left her unable to walk and with pain all over her body – and remarkably she’s had to learn how to walk again THREE TIMES.
When entrepreneur and police dispatcher, Chandra Crosby (25) from Saint George, Utah, USA, was just seven, a bout of strep throat changed her life forever. What started off as a sore throat, soon led to Chandra experiencing horrifying pain in her legs and feet that left her unable to walk and she was admitted to hospital.
Wheelchair bound for a month, Chandra’s symptoms progressed to pain all over her body, and her legs, feet, arms and hands were swelling. After weeks of tests she was finally diagnosed with the auto-immune condition, Lupus, on her eighth birthday and she had to relearn how to walk again.
Chandra has been on high doses of steroids since she was eight to try to control her symptoms and she receives Retuxin infusions every five-months as well as anti-inflammatory medication daily. As well as this, she eats a healthy whole food diet and takes CBD oil daily to fight her symptoms.
Determined not to be defined by her condition, Chandra wants to help people feel confident in their bodies even if they can’t control their physical appearance. This positive attitude has helped see Chandra through two difficult flare ups this last year that have left her bed bound in hospital as her flares cause her extremities to go numb and her respiratory system to shut down.
“I got strep throat when I was seven years old, I ended up having debilitating pain in my legs and feet and I was unable to walk. I was admitted to the hospital and my condition started to progress and I was in horrific pain all over,” explained Chandra.
“Pain medication wouldn’t work, I was swollen and having inflammation in my legs, feet, arms, and hands. The doctors couldn’t come up with a diagnosis, I had an allergic reaction to an IV treatment they tried to give and at that point they decided to transport me to a hospital in Las Vegas to a children’s ICU.
“I had doctors from all over the country trying to diagnose me and run tests and nothing was matching my symptoms. I was unable to eat at this point and weighed about 60 lbs which was almost half my normal body weight.
“I was unable to move on my own and the pain was still unbearable, finally a doctor from the University of Utah came to my rescue. He studied autoimmune disorders and found that I had systemic Lupus through various blood tests.
“It causes extreme fatigue to this day, I am constantly exhausted with my body fighting itself, I have to be extremely careful that I get enough rest so my body doesn’t go into a flare.
“I still suffer from pain most days in my joints, knees, fingers, and hips mostly, I have permanent damage to those joints with hyper extension that I have to be careful not to do further damage.
“I now have neurological symptoms that when I get stressed or overly tired parts of my face and extremities start going numb, my current flares present like Guillain-Barré syndrome, where I start going numb from the feet up and my respiratory system starts shutting down.
“I have been hospitalised for this kind of flare twice in the last year and have almost had to be put on a ventilator because of the severity of the flare.
“When I am in flare especially my last two hospitalisations, it takes months of recovery, I have had to relearn how to walk three times in my life and have been wheelchair bound.
“I have had to use walkers and canes. I have been completely immobile and spent weeks in inpatient rehab facilities relearning motor skills, regaining strength, and making myself mobile again to live an independent life.”
Lupus is a long-term auto-immune condition for which there is no cure, but symptoms can improve if treatment starts early. It causes inflammation to the joints, skin and organs and can flare up and settle down at any time.
It is not known what causes lupus, a viral infection, strong medication, sunlight, puberty, childbirth and the menopause have all been known to trigger the condition.
It ranges from mild where sufferers cope with joint and skin problems and tiredness to severe, where inflammation can cause severe damage to the heart, lungs, brain or kidneys which can be life threatening.
Chandra shares her Lupus journey and struggles on Instagram and has even set up her own clothing line, Wolfpack Apparel, which is named after her condition which means wolf in Latin – proceeds from every sale go to the Lupus foundation to help find a cure.
She shared her words of advice to others.
“I don’t believe in becoming a victim of circumstance, but rather a victor of the challenges given to us and to use those challenges to make this world a better place,” she said.
“I am currently working on starting a YouTube channel and podcast to help motivate those who need to be pushed and guided through their life challenges.
“Friends and family always say how proud they are of me and how it motivates them to accomplish their goals in life. That seeing my journey has helped put things in perspective in their life and inspire them.
“The only reason you were given this challenge is because you are a warrior, you are a person who is strong enough to fight this and no matter how bad it gets you are stronger, you are a fighter, and you will conquer this.
“We are not given any challenge that we cannot win, just refuse to put up that white flag and give this fight all you have got.
“You are not alone, no matter how lonely the road gets you will never be left to fight alone. I want people to know I am here and I want to bring a whole community of people together to make sure we know we have people to guide us and give us hope during this time.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/shewolf_chandra