Faces of Sjogren's: Melaca’s Journey
When I was diagnosed with Sjögren's, my first thought was…
“how is this going to affect my life?” I was diagnosed in February 2011 and it felt like a whirlwind of events that led up to my diagnosis. I didn’t have time to absorb what was happening to me or even try to grasp the concept that I might have a chronic illness. I was sick, depressed, angry, frustrated and most of all I didn’t have one person who understood what I was going through! I had to deal with all of this myself and try to understand what was happening to me.
I went home confused and frustrated that I had nobody to help me and nobody to educate me on my new diagnosis. My thoughts were all over the place as to what my future would be like and how my health would deteriorate. I knew I would have to start telling people that I had Sjogren’s to start educating them and help raise awareness. I decided to work with the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation and start a support group in Hawaii. The Foundation was there to help educate me when I had no one and I felt it was important to continue the Foundation’s work in my community.
My life has changed since my diagnosis and every day is a challenge for me. I took charge of my life and decided to make changes to get healthy. I work out four to five times a week for an hour. I try to make healthy choices everyday when eating my meals. I have had to work hard to be more aware of what’s going on with my body and make daily adjustments as needed in my life. I think I have been successful in finding a work life balance because of my awareness of my body and disease. Now I feel great and love my life! Sjogren’s has helped me to meet many wonderful people and learn how to enjoy and appreciate life one day at a time.