HITTING Rock BOTTOM
Time passed, and I learnt to manage my pain with a lot of painkiller medication. One of my dreams was to become a journalist. At 18, that dream came true as I got a job, writing for a weekly newspaper; I even went on to work in radio and TV after a few years.
It was when I made the switch to work in television that things took a distinct turn for the worse again. My schedule had become extremely demanding, with my commute itself taking about 5- 6 hours a day — that’s not counting the 9- 10 hours I spent at the job itself. It was too much for my body and, in 2006, I had an incident where I collapsed at work. During my hospitalisation, I had to fess up and tell the doctors that I’d been screened for lupus in the past. One thing led to another, and the confirmed diagnosis finally came out. My immune system was definitely waging war against me.
Things went downhill pretty fast. I ended up losing my job, my friends… Everyone turned their backs on me. I didn’t really have a social life because I was terribly fatigued all the time — in the sense that I could sleep for 12 hours, wake up, and still feel like I needed to sleep for another 12 hours. If I complained of tiredness or pain, people always told me: ‘ But you look perfectly normal’… Well, lupus can be the ‘ look good, feel sick’ disease, because there were days my feet were so swollen I couldn’t get off my bed or walk; and others when my hands were so swollen that I couldn’t brush my teeth or hair, or hold a cup of tea.
I reached a stage where I no longer had the zeal to live. How do you face the day, knowing that your own body is trying to destroy you? I turned to alcohol, started abusing morphine, attempted suicide more than once…
Dr Gregory House fro the edi al dra a House; Selena Go ez, who announ ed her diagnosis with lupus last year; ( below) Reanna ( fifth from left) on the set of an offi ial info er ial on lupus in Trinidad & To ago