Thirty-One Faces of Hope: Karon Beasley
The lupus community includes people living with lupus, friends, family and supporters across Georgia. For Lupus Awareness Month, we would like to highlight some of our lupus heroes and champions.
I heard the uncomforting words "one of the worst cases of lupus I've ever seen, in my practice of 2,000" from my rheumatologist after I was diagnosed in 1998/99 with lupus. While I haven't been had hospital stays, the lupus and complications have been an ongoing daily struggle. I have never been close to remission, until now. I feel I am close. It has been a long process, I have never quit. If you are feeling discouraged and you feel stuck in the battle, keep going and trying.
In short, I made a deliberate decision in 2018 to let go of any areas of stress in my life I possibly could. Good stress, relational and circumstantial stressors that no longer served me well. While I still need a "touch up" on occasion, (even this week) things are so much better! It feels good to say that. I believe in my heart staying the course with my rheumatologist, pursuing the right treatment plan, and the personal adjustments have all been contributing factors.
I was surrounded by stress, the expectations of others, disappointment, spiritual pressure, financial pressure, stress from managing chronic illnesses, caring for family, stress about my stress ;-) and general garden variety stresses coming from within. It is a process, please keep going for I never expected to be where I am today.
Less than one year later my labs are remarkably better, photo worthy symptoms that baffled doctors cleared up. My rheumatologist was actively consulting with experts in her field to help find answers, looked for clinical trials, to the point she said a few years ago that "we were running out of treatment options." While I still have lupus, it feels good to be where I am at now. I did find myself recently in a few very stressful situations. I was feeling a little "off." I had pretty significant headaches and other issues due to stress and not pacing myself over stuff that just didn't matter. I kept telling myself in a panic "I am not going back..." and "I can't go back..." Thankfully I had a medical professional intervene after seeing the look on my face at an appointment last month and she reminded me my job was to take care of myself. Never liked the sound of that I guess because it sounds selfish when in all actually, not taking care of myself would be. My encouragement to quote is, "Anything that cost you peace is too expensive, let it go."
After I made some changes, my eyes opened and I reached out to someone very special to me. It was the best move I have ever made, he cares for me on a level I've never known. I'm at my best and happiest with him in my life. People around me noticed I was happy even if they didn't know a thing!
I was the 1st walker to sign up for the 2007 Georgia Lupus Walk and served on chapter event committees, filled in where I could, did marketing/PR and was honored to become one of the first 'Faces of Hope” landing on GA billboards and PEOPLE magazine. I am proud to be an advocate at both the state and nation levels.
My parents, Richard & Sandra Beasley, have been strong supporters, advocates and volunteers of the LFAGA. Lifelong friendships forged, for over a decade, I'd found my calling to serve using my marketing/sales skills, at time when I needed the GA chapter and they needed me. You can make a difference if you've not done so already!
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Meade
"The three grand essentials of happiness are: Something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for." Alexander Chalmers
- Karon Beasley