Photo: Singer Toni Braxton. Source: The Gazette Review.
Toni Braxton is an American singer, record producer, and songwriter, best known for her hit songs, “Breathe Again” and “Un-Break My Heart.” Her songs made it on the top of the music charts, and she won numerous awards as well. This is the reason why she is considered one of the most successful personalities in the industry. However, apart from succeeding in her career, she has also succeeded in managing lupus.
How Toni Braxton was diagnosed with lupus
It was in 2010 when Toni Braxton revealed that she was diagnosed with lupus, but even before that, she suffered from severe chest pains. Her doctors have diagnosed inflammation on the lining of her heart, so she was taking steroids and anti-inflammatory medication. After she recovered from it, she continued on with her career and even landed a show at the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas.
However, in 2008, she discovered that her iron was low and that her white blood cell count kept dropping. The initial reaction of her doctors was to undergo an iron transfusion. It wasn't until 2 years later that she was diagnosed with lupus. Braxton, when speaking out about her diagnosis, shared that she was fearful when she first learned she had it, and that the very first thing that came to mind at the time of diagnosis were her kids.
The difficulties experienced by Toni while living with lupus
Just like other people who are suffering from lupus, Toni Braxton did not have an easy time dealing with it. In fact, she once shared that there have been times when she had difficulty balancing her already busy schedule. She also shared how she needed to stay in bed as she felt like she had the flu. The toughest part for her was when she needed to perform and not let anyone see that the struggle that she was experiencing.
The singer had also been hospitalized several times due to complications with lupus. Because of this, she had been left with no other choice but to postpone her shows. Nevertheless, as much as possible, she doesn’t let lupus overtake her life and her career. She doesn’t want to disappoint her fans, and she is very thankful for the support that she has been receiving from them since the beginning of her career.
How Toni was able to manage lupus
There is still no cure for lupus, but the good thing is that it can be managed if people are diagnosed early enough. With Toni Braxton, as soon as she was diagnosed with lupus, she started making changes in her lifestyle. She is currently on a metabolism-revving diet and often eats cucumber salad as cucumber cools the body and keeps inflammation down. According to her, whenever she eats better, her mind and body feel better too. Apart from that, she also sees to it that she gets to exercise daily, may it be walking on a treadmill or just simply walking around the neighborhood. She has also taken medication.
Her doctors also played a very important role in her managing lupus. In fact, whenever the show "Dancing With the Stars” was taped live, her doctors were always present on the set. Toni Braxton also wears a heart monitor even during her events to monitor her heart rate and to detect if a heart attack, chest pain, and stroke are experienced after a flare, which has landed her in a hospital before. This monitor is strapped to her chest. Through this device, she is able to monitor her health and at the same time, do what she loves: performing.
It has now been years since Toni Braxton's lupus diagnosis. Throughout the years, she was able to learn how to manage the fatigue that comes with being an entertainer and the symptoms of lupus. Now, she dresses accordingly for the weather. During the summer, she also sees that she wears sunscreen to limit the amount of exposure, and she also pays more attention to the amount of work that she accepts.
A little bit of information about lupus
Lupus is often referred to as an “invisible” disease because many who have it often do not look sick. However, they do experience pain in the joints, fatigue, headache, and shortness of breath. Some also start losing their hair and becoming more sensitive to sunlight. Millions of people in different parts of the world are currently suffering from it.
This disease may affect any body organ or system including the kidneys, heart, and lungs. This is the reason why it looks different in every person who has been diagnosed with it. Hence, oftentimes, physicians confuse its symptoms with other diseases.
Early diagnosis is important for lupus patient to prevent it from progressing any further. However, sadly, lupus cannot be diagnosed with just a single laboratory test. This is the reason why it takes patients, like Toni Braxton, months or even years to be formally diagnosed with it. So, apart from conducting a blood test, physicians also look for anemia, protein in urine and fluid around the heart.
Lupus and cognitive problems
Cognitive problems often occur together with lupus, which worsens during flares once lupus damages the patient’s brain cells. So, some people who have been diagnosed with lupus are often forgetful or confused. They also often misplace their things and have difficulty absorbing information.
Toni Braxton also once revealed that during one of the shows that she did, her brain was foggy due to the medications that she was taking at the time. Because of this, she had a difficult time remembering choreography. But, she did not regret being a part of "Dancing with the Stars" or any other shot that she performed in, as it always helped her emotionally.
Lupus and Mental Alertness
On the other hand, the good news is that it often does not progress to Alzheimer’s or dementia. In fact, people who are experiencing lupus fog can also do something to improve its symptoms. For example, they can write down important things like dates in their life or conversations that they had with other people. Before starting their day, it would also be a good idea for them to organize their schedule for the day to ensure that they would get everything done before the day ends.
To improve their memory, they can also consider playing brain teasers or any mind games that can be easily downloaded online. Some are even being offered for free. Exercising the mind and keeping it active is the key. They can also consider undergoing CBT or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to help them cope up with it. On the other hand, to improve their concentration, they can read books. Of course, it is also very important for them to keep themselves free from stress. An ample amount of sleep is also necessary.
For lupus patients, it is very important for them to follow all the instructions that have been given to them by their physician. If they have been prescribed medications, then they need to make sure to take it on time. Keeping themselves healthy through proper diet and exercise, as well as getting rid of their stressors, may also help them a lot. As long as they are able to manage their disease and learn how to live with it, just like Toni Braxton, lupus will not be able to stop them from doing the things they love and from living the life they have always wanted to live.