Making Peace with My Butterfly
My name is Ferzana Gillani and I have been living with lupus since 2008.

I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus after a turbulent year filled with confusion in my body. My symptoms came to a head when I took vaccinations in preparation for a trip to Africa and then spent three weeks under the African sun. I returned home to a diagnosis of lupus and spent several months trying to make sense of the drastic changes that were happening to me.

When I first heard of my diagnosis, I felt like I had walked into my doctor’s office 5’7” and walked out 2’2”. While my doctor was extremely compassionate and provided me with the information I needed at that time, I felt extremely vulnerable, broken, lost and helpless. I so desperately looked for messages of inspiration and hope as far as my new diagnosis but I was unsuccessful.

Over time though, I found the more awareness I had about lupus and how almost every side effect of lupus and the medications could be managed (and counteracted in some cases), I began to feel like I could regain much of the energetic life I once had.

The more I learned the more I become in tune with understanding my body which allowed me to support its needs, so it could do what it needed to support me in return.

Since lupus is based on inflammation, I began to learn of triggers that cause inflammation at a physical, emotional and even spiritual level and started to put together an action plan to restore balance back into my body.Understanding my own body enabled me to be more confident in speaking to my doctors and care team and I began to work with them to more effectively create a wellness plan for me which was a great source of empowerment.Over the past 5 years, I have focused on each aspect of my being (the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects) and I can honestly say that lupus has shaped me in ways I never imagined and through it I have a deeper sense of inner peace and balance and I sincerely look to my lupus as being my greatest inspiration.

Having lived through a complete transformation and come out stronger for it, I created the “Inspire Lupus Hope” project as a way to raise awareness and provide hope and inspiration for those who are touched by lupus.I have also written about my entire journey in a book called “Lupus My Constant Companion and Greatest Inspiration in which I have included every bad judgement (like weaning off my medication which resulted in kidney damage) as well as every success through my experience as a way to support self-discovery in others touched by lupus. I’m a firm believer that we need to be our biggest advocates and having all the information around us, empowers us to make better decisions toward our own wellbeing.

By sharing my journey, I hope others can avoid a lot of the fear, panic, confusion and despair that often comes with this diagnosis.Dr. Richard Wiginton, a family physician has quoted on the book “Ferzana had an image of what a successful life was supposed to include but had that derailed by the harshness of a life threatening illness. She allows the reader in to the intimate details of her life and demonstrates a path that allowed her to emerge successful in even more ways and able to enjoy a wonderful quality of life. Though Ferzana’s diagnosis happens to be lupus, her experiences and methods are universal for any chronic illness. “

My story is only one among other stories of empowerment and hope; if you have your own story about feeling empowered while living with lupus, please share it on the Inspire Lupus Hope Facebook page where others who are touched by lupus have been posting their stories to inspire others.

Please help spread the word that building awareness can help empower those of us touched by lupus to make the best decisions and lead to living an inspiring life.

I wish you all the best in Making Peace with Your Butterfly as well.