Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Up to 60 percent of people who have it, including Nick Cannon, are diagnosed with lupus nephritis, a kidney inflammation caused by the disease.
It kind of came from out of nowhere and was a shock to me because I was someone who was in great shape and took care of myself. Then one day, I had a sharp pain in my back. I went to the doctor in January 2012 and was told I had kidney failure and had to undergo surgery and have a biopsy. At first, doctors didn’t understand why my immune system was attacking my organs, and in February, I had blood clots in my lungs and an enlarged heart. Luckily, I received medical attention early and was able to reverse a lot of the stuff that was happening and save my kidney. Then in March, doctors found out the root of my problems: lupus nephritis. Initially, I didn’t want to believe the diagnosis because I didn’t know what having this meant for my life. The doctors still do not know where this came from. It doesn’t seem to be hereditary because no one else in my family has it. Lupus could attack the heart or the brain; for some people, it’s the skin. Mine is specifically in the kidney region. It took a while for me to understand this.
Then I figured out it was something I could live with, fight through and still have a clean bill of health and be healthy as long as I do what I’m supposed to. That’s when the worrying went away. I got focused and even did an online video series I called the NCredible Health Hustle on my website and was trying to take my health very seriously. I built my body back up to where I was able to eat properly and change my diet. I was on a renal diet for almost a year and really worked out. I had to get on the right types of supplements. I started juicing a lot with vegetables, which I still do every day to put the right things in my body. My doctors said a lot of my problems were caused because I wasn’t getting enough rest; I was constantly working my body until it was overworked. My immune system got confused. When I was doing my radio show in the morning, I would go a week without sleep. That definitely was part of the deterioration. I felt like I didn’t need to sleep, but I didn’t realize my body needed time to recuperate and reboot. My doctors advise at least seven hours of sleep. I aim for six, but I am definitely getting a good night’s sleep. I have always tried to work out. I make sure I start my day and end my day in the gym for at least an hour. That has always been important. I must be careful [to move around] when on planes so I won’t get any blood clots. I’m a little more susceptible to [illness] than the average person, so I take a lot of vitamin C because of my immune system. I cannot eat fast food anymore, and I loved fast food! I don’t eat everything organic, but I’ve learned to not live to eat but to eat to live. I keep it old school now and pack my lunch with boiled eggs, vegetables and juice.
Today, I am 100-percent healthy. I still go to the doctor every month to get blood tests and a checkup. I’m getting ready to do a PSA for lupus. I’m also a member of the National Kidney Organization, and I did the Kidney Walk last year. Since I get to reach a lot of people through my job, I might as well help spread the awareness. I walk by faith and not by fear. That test last year has now become my testimony.
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Senior Editor, EBONY Magazine