Lupus Warrior of the Week

GM 🌎!
The 4A’s Sisters Lupus Foundation would like to recognize JoJo Berthiaume as our this week Lupus Warrior. Please show your love.

Johanna Berthiaume is 34 years old. She was diagnosed with lupus at 23 years of age.  Lives in Palmer Massachusetts with husband Mike and thrir small dog Blackie who are both vital parts in her lupus journey and recovery.

Before her diagnosis she first started experiencing pain in her joints which the doctors said, they thought it was premature arthritis at her young age at the time but, weeks later the pain got unbearable to the point that JoJo couldn’t go to work.

Weeks later her hands and feet started swelling really bad, had the butterfly rash on her face for the first time. She was then referred to a rheumatologist who after doing blood work was able to confirm JoJo has SLE. She remembered her first bad lupus flare months later where she was in 10 out of 10 pain and couldn’t walk or open or close her hands from so much inflammation in her joints. It took her going 3 times to the emergency room before they realized that her pain was real and that just like many other lupus patients they don’t just want pain medication for the unbearable pain, they want to feel better and a cure. By the 3rd time going to the Emergency Room within that week, that was when they ran specific blood tests and realized it was a lupus flare and then admitted her for almost two weeks because the lupus levels were so bad by then.

Some of her illnesses caused by lupus like fibromyalgia, arthritis, nephritis, avascular necrosis on both hips from so many years on prednisone, history of seizure disorder, high blood pressure, raynaud’s syndrome, proteinuria, irregular heartbeat, just to name a few of the close to 30 illnesses JoJo now have due to lupus attacking different organs.

Lupus has attacked her bones, muscles, heart, kidneys, blood, brain and has even attacked one of her past pregnancies causing her to miscarry and almost her life.

She has ended up with almost 30 different illnesses all caused by lupus attacking different organs.

JoJo had to go through 3 different years of chemotherapy for stage 4 lupus nephritis to try and save her kidneys. Yet no matter all she have endured, she has always kept her faith and smile (even in the midst of tears), most people would describe her as being one of the most optimistic person they know.

She truly believe that her mindset is half the battle. She refuse to allow this “silent killer” to destroy her.

She speaks life into every situation and over her body. Today and every day she like to encourage you to do the same.

She’s blessed to have an amazing support community of family, friends and Lupie Sisters and Brothers that are always at the corner cheering her on in good and not so good days. You got this because God’s got me and you. 💜

Lupus Warrior of the Week

Antoinette Y. Thames
Lives in Little Rock, Arkansas where she was born and raised.
She received her diagnosis of SLE Lupus 16 years ago.
At the age of nine 1979, Antoinette began to experience chronic hives from head to toe. She was also experiencing swelling in her feet, hand, throat and often my eyes and lips. For many years I received a diagnosis of chronic urticaria (hives) and angioedema.Anti-histamines and steroids was the choice of treatment her doctor chose.
Each year she noticed that she was being challenged with additional symptoms. Lower back pain, low grade fevers, fatigue, joint pain and headaches all appeared aggressively. She felt that she had not been properly diagnosed.
Antoinette asked many questions but, doctors at that time had no answers.
In November of 1999, she began to experience uncontrollable pain throughout her entire body. She was taken to hospitals ER was given pain medication that did nothing to reduce any of my pain. Later that day she returned to the hospital and was admitted.
Upon doing a MRI the doctors discovered that both of her hips had completely deteriorated. The steroids that she was taking for chronic hives and angioedema had caused avascular necrosis and needed to have her hips replaced to alleviate the pain.
November of 1999, she was twenty- nine years old when had her first two hip surgeries. Bilateral core drilling’s on her hips was the chosen surgery by her doctor in hopes to relieve the pressure that was causing all of the pain. The surgeries were unsuccessful.
In January of 2000, Antoinette received her third hip surgery and March of 2000, she received a fourth.
In October of 2004, after her second trip to the ER in a week, she was hospitalized with a fever of an unknown origin, severe joint pain, fatigue and hives. She remained in the hospital for two weeks and many tests were done. Along with the symptoms in earlier years, current symptoms and test results she received a diagnosis of lupus and received a rheumatologist.
Finally she had some answers!
In June of 2010, Antoinette retired from her teaching position of sixteen years after experiencing additional hip problems and the side effects of medications she was being treated with to manage lupus.
In November of 2014, she developed metal poisoning in her left hip from the metal on metal hip replacement that she had received earlier.
God has taught her to walk five times in her life and she’s very thankful and grateful.
Antoinette had been Living with a diagnosis of SLE Lupus for sixteen years, by doing what brings her joy, and Thriving by becoming the best version of her that she’s able to become.
She’s A Fighter, A Warrior, A Champion and God Is Her Victory!
August 3, 2019
The Lupus Champions Group was created with the intent to encourage, inspire, bring awareness, support and connect others living and thriving with this disease .
Lupus Champions Always Striving To Provide Hope, Help and a Form Of Healing ❤️

Lupus Warrior of the Week

Yarcheka Burns

GM 🌎
4A’s Sisters Lupus Foundation would like to recognize
Yarcheka Burns as this week Lupus Warrior.

Yarcheka lives in Nashville, TN with her husband of 10 years and their 9 year old son.

She was diagnosed misdiagnosed with Lupoid Sclerosis in 2005 and was treated for both Lupus and MS for three years. After extensive testing and seeing several physicians it was discovered she had Lupus SLE and like so many later Fibromyalgia, Raynaund’s Syndrome, Connective Tissue Disease and Gastrointestinal Disease were added to the list.

Also struggled with hyperparathyroidism. The combination of these diseases often sends her body spiraling. Several body parts including her eyes have been impacted. Once went through a flare due to inflammation in her brain that left unable to walk for six weeks.

No one can face this type of pain and always be happy.

She encourages others to remember it’s okay to not be okay just don’t stay there! In those dark moments get you a song, book, slogan and of course much prayer to pull you through.

Yarcheka believes adding a friend to your village that has an autoimmune disorder is essential.

That allows you to speak to someone that walks a similar journey and understands your struggle. Finding a local support group has also helped her with having an outlet. She still work full-time which is not easy but, it does force her to refocus her energy.

So grateful for her support system. Yarcheka can’t give up there’s still more life to live!

Lupus Warrior of the Week

GM 🌎!
4A’s Sisters Lupus Foundation would like to recognize Prejean Carlisa as this week Lupus Warrior please show some 💘

She was diagnose about 2 1/2 years ago not knowing what it was, she has lost so much weight at times couldn’t get out of bed, in so much pain.

Many days she wanted to give up. But, she continue to pray and push.

When Carlisa started seeing her skin color change it was worst for her. It was
Mostly in her face.

Known as the butter fly rash which meant know heat. Couldn’t be in the sun. At one time It got so depressing for her but, she knew she had to continue to push. She’s a mother of four girls and one boy, and eight grandkids.

The pain she knows will never go away. But, my Faith is stronger now more than anything. The struggle is real.
Blessings baby girl!