Jan. 13, 2016

2016 Year of the Patient

Lisa Lynn Eveleth

Part 1

It’s been a long tough road, and as someone who has struggled for much of my life with a serious illness, my biggest thrill is that, today, I’m able to accomplish many of my goals. I had to dedicate myself to learning all I could about my disease, and I had to focus on exercise and nutrition. But because of those challenges, I’m very proud that I am able to be so active as an owner of my personal training and nutrition business and being the founder and CEO of LIVEFIT WITH LUPUS. You see, for me, the word “fitness” has a significance that extends far beyond physical appearance or athletic ability. For me, “fitness” means health.

Growing up I was healthy and extremely active. My sister and I spent the summers at the ball field. I can remember pitching several games in a row…in the hot, 90 degree summer days without getting tired. People would refer to me as ‘THE ENERGIZER BUNNY’! I guess I’ve always had that fighter’s spirit!

When I was 16, that spirit really got tested. My immune system began attacking the platelets in my blood, preventing it from clotting. My doctor became very worried about my bleeding, that he advised me not to use sharp knives or even shave my legs. Finally, he recommended a splenectomy to help calm my overactive immune system. Following this, I thought I was in the clear, but in hindsight, I now recognize this was the beginning of my personal journey of living with lupus.

Part 2

In college, more problems began to arise. Just as I began to teach fitness classes, it became a struggle for me just to get out of bed. I had swollen joints, numbness in extremities, migraine headaches, my mouth was filled with ulcers, making it tough to eat, I had rashes covering my body, my hair was falling out by the handfuls. I tried to push through symptoms, but sometimes the pain was so tough, I couldn’t manage on my own, turning the faucet on or simply standing to shower, raising my arms above my head to even wash my hair was such a challenge.

When I finally received a diagnosis, I was relieved. Even though I didn’t know what my condition was, having a name gave me hope. My doctor explained to me that it was a CHRONIC condition with no cure. I was so young and had so many plans.   

But, rather than give up, I began educating myself on my disease. This didn’t go particularly well at first, books I read said I had a life expectancy of 5-10 years. ……It was devastating.

I became fascinated and dedicated myself to doing whatever I could to reclaim my health. 

It was certainly a learning experience, and I’ll admit I had a hard time coping with my new life. I didn’t want to be labeled, so I didn’t tell many people about my lupus. I realize now that was not the right thing to do.

Part 3

Life was tough and it didn’t get easier. The whole ACCEPTANCE was challenging, learning and educating was even tougher. Each time I would begin to heal, I would have a setback….end up back in the hospital with renewed activity of my disease…such as seizures and mini strokes. My disease attacked my brain on several occasions, and it felt like everything that made me who I am was…GONE. When the doctors would come in for rounds and ask me questions as to where I was, who the president was and hold up 3 items in front of me…such as an apple, an orange and a pencil. I had trouble finding the right words. 

My kidneys seemed to be another weak point, dropping my weight down to 72 pounds and my hair…there was none to speak of. We would do chemotherapy to try to reboot the immune system. When visitors came to see me, they couldn’t hide the shock on their faces when they saw me.

I began to wonder if life would ever be tolerable or if I’d ever feel like a whole person again?  I thought I’d never be able to take a walk, instead of being pushed in a chair, let alone drive a car. Even worse, I had no sense of control over my own life. I couldn’t make plans. I had a hard time imagining a future that wasn’t dictated by my disease. I had no goals beyond surviving and that took everything I had.

I didn’t want to be here anymore. I was tired of the pain, the suffering. There were many nights that I prayed not to awake and go through another day.  But, I had many reasons to fight and my spirit was strong. I knew I had a plan and a purpose, but not clear on what it was….AND I became determined to SURVIVE.

Part 4

I have many reasons to fight and my spirit was strong. I knew I had a plan and a purpose, but not clear on what it was….AND I became determined to SURVIVE. 



I remember one particular gratifying experience, after many months of physical therapy(after a bad flare up); getting in my car and driving…BY MYSELF, to the grocery store. For the first time, since my diagnosis, I remembered what it was like to feel independent again. I sat there, hands on the steering wheel, tears flowing down my cheeks.-------------

I have worked hard to manage my disease. There was definitely a point where I didn’t believe it was possible for me to get where I am today, but continuing to fight and setting my goals high, I have been able to accomplish my plan!!  TODAY…the disease that seemed like it would rob me of my goals has given me a sense of purpose and determination.

I started a foundation called LIVEFIT WITH LUPUS to help promote healthier lives for those living with autoimmune diseases.

Part 5
I started a foundation called LIVEFIT WITH LUPUS to help promote healthier lives for those living with autoimmune diseases.

We offer many programs for patients including, nutritional guidance, exercise education, beauty wellness, and specialty physician resources, psychological and emotional support.

We work with patients one on one to help support them when first diagnosed, or patients who have been dealing with it for years. We help them transform their lives to have more quality. They’ve been dealt this obstacle, we are here to help them to live life fully as best they can.
Our website is http://www.livefitwithlupus.org

So strange as it sounds, I feel blessed …I would never change anything I have gone through, not the pain… or the suffering… It has built my character, strengthened my faith and made me exactly who I am supposed to be.
*Where there is no struggle- there is no strength.
You have three choices when bad things happen to you. You can let them destroy you, define you or develop you.

Thank you for letting me share my story.