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Meet #LupusWarrior Cheleatha
Lupus Warrior Advocates for Awareness and Cure
Cheleatha Lott, a Lupus Warrior from the Spring area, first suspected something wasn’t quite right with her physical body when she noticed abnormal joint swelling in 2012. She also began to experience piercing headaches which lead to constantly feeling nauseous.
“I thought it was all stress related and just tried to manage my symptoms the best I could by taking over-the-counter medications. “I also made an increased effort to get more sleep due to my demanding career.”
A few years later, in 2017, Cheleatha developed a debilitating headache that resulted in her right eye becoming bloodshot. When she thinks back on that now, she believes it’s entirely possible she suffered a mini-stroke.
Over time, her symptoms became gradually worse. She said completing daily tasks such as getting dressed, showering, and even climbing the stairs became insurmountable challenges. She knew that whatever was ailing her body was much more than stress.
In June 2020, Cheleatha made the decision to listen to the warning signs of her body and made the choice to receive medical treatment.
“I knew I needed to get to the root of my health issues, so I sought the expertise of a rheumatologist, who suspected I could possibly have lupus,” said Cheleatha. Her diagnosis had not yet been confirmed, however, which prevented her from receiving treatment earlier.
Not even a year later, Cheleatha suffered a major stroke, which left her paralyzed on the left side of her body. A CT scan revealed that she had developed a blood clot, which traveled to right side of her brain.
“My situation seemed to be hopeless, especially when the doctor informed me that I may have to have brain surgery to remove the life-threatening clot,” she said.
Hearing this possible outcome left Cheleatha and her family feeling devastated, fearful, and wondering what else she could endure.
“Thankfully, I didn’t have to have brain surgery, but I did need to have physical therapy,” said Cheleatha.
She underwent physical therapy and was on the road to recovery when she experienced another setback in January 2022. Having just lost her job due to her current health restrictions, her anxiety got the best of her, and her body responded by having a seizure.
“I realized then that I needed to get a better handle on my stress and anxiety levels. Stress can be harmful to all of us, but for lupus patients, the consequences can be dire,” she said.
Since experiencing her stroke, she has regained 75% to 85% mobility. She is more mindful of what her body tells her and is diligent about taking her lupus medications. She does breathing exercises that allow her to keep her stress under control.
She’s also became involved with the Lupus Foundation of America – Texas Gulf Coast Chapter as a volunteer to educate others on the condition and mentor new patients on coping with their diagnosis.
“I encourage recently diagnosed patients that Lupus is not a death sentence, but that you have to be vigilant about taking your medications, getting plenty of rest, and managing stress as much as possible,” Cheleatha said.
Through her advocacy work, she would like the public to understand that just because a lupus patient looks fine on the outside doesn’t mean they are fine on the inside. Lupus ravishes the organs, skin, and other tissues, resulting in a myriad of health issues.
Cheleatha, who has spent over 15 years working as a probation and parole officer, believes human resource departments need to consider lupus a disability due to the many complications it can present to Lupus Warriors.
“Compared to other major diseases, lupus has not received the attention it deserves and needs to be taken more seriously,” she said.
As a motivational speaker, freelance makeup artist, and Mary Kay consultant, Cheleatha does all she can to change the perception and attitudes about lupus so that people can better understand the nature of the disease with everyone she encounters.
“I hope that one day there will be a cure. But, for now, we must continue to fight and raise awareness, so Lupus Warriors receive the support and resources they need,” she said.
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