I Made My Pain into My Purpose

My name is Nakisha King from Columbia, South Carolina and I'm a proud veteran of the US Navy.  I am the mother of three wonderful boys ages 4, 8 and 12 years old and I am blessed with a disease called Lupus. I have been affected in many ways by this disease, one of which is extreme headaches, which sometimes leave me immobile. My joints ache all the time and my immune system is shot. Sometimes, something as seemingly insignificant as a common cold can take me out for days. I also have a butterfly-shaped rash on my face that cannot be covered by even the best makeup. Some days, I get scared that I'm not going to make it but then I think about my three little men who depend on me every day. They are truly my motivation! Knowing that I can provide a legacy for them keeps me motivated.  My story started in Guam.

         When I was deployed to Guam, I started getting rashes on my face.  I dismissed it and assumed it must be from something in the water.  I went to medical and the doctor believed it was Lupus, but was not sure so he ran some tests and the tests came back positive.  The doctor gave me topical steroids but the medicine gave me headaches when using it. I reached out to family back home about my diagnosis and talked to my aunt and she said, "don't claim that" so I stopped taking the medicine and went on with every day life, but I continued dealing with symptoms, being tired all the time, painful headaches, feeling weak, and bad shakes from not eating.  I just chalked it all up to just being me and getting older.  I actually was diagnosed with Lupus but you could say I did not accept that I had it until 2012 when I was in Augusta, GA.  

         For many years of my life I struggled with health issues, miscarriages, and painful headaches where I could not move. Looking back I never thought to associate my health problems with Lupus; I never put the two and two together.  I heard of Lupus before; but never talked to anyone who had it. Lupus can be scary. I experienced a small cut on my finger and it looked like my skin burst.  Some people have internal and some people have external symptoms, but I have both.  I talked to my mother about it and she said, "You need to get a third, fourth and fifth opinion."   I did just that and all the opinions came back with the same diagnosis - I have Lupus.   The last doctor gave me a list of things to help cope living with Lupus.  When the doctor gave me the list, I didn't take it serious because I had not yet experienced joint pain, rashes on the arms, sitting so long that I couldn't walk plus I had the mindset that I was young and thought I could push through the disease.   Now after going through the symptoms, I abide by the list every single day.  I don't stand too long, I don't read in the dark, and I wear sun glasses during bright lights. Now I get my rest and I drink a lot of water because it will help protect my kidneys.  I'm anemic and that does not sit well with Lupus.  One symptom that really hurts me emotionally is the hair loss.  I love doing hair and when I lost all my hair It was a very difficult process to go through and having to accept wearing wigs for the rest of my life.  

        What many people don't know is that when I was diagnosed with Lupus in Georgia, I was going through a tough separation that left me homeless with three young children.  I was divorcing my husband and I was relying on a house purchase that was supposed to go through but it fell through. I was actually homeless living at the Salvation Army with my three boys. Prior to our temporary stay at the Salvation Army, me and my three children had slept in the car a few times and we slept in different local hotels. It was hard on me in so many ways and health being one because Lupus affects the immune system and it was cold and I was unable to control the environment to regulate my Lupus.  During my stay, I got pneumonia. I was losing so much weight when we stayed at the Salvation Army for a week.  Besides the health issues, I struggled with my children's well being because we were homeless during the Christmas time.  I'm blessed that my children are just like me - they don't ask for a lot.  My children were too young to fully understand we were homeless. They just thought we were moving around and meeting new people.  

          I remember this one conversation my one son was having with their dad, he was asking my son, "What do you want for Christmas?"  My son said, "Dad I don't want anything. This is the best Christmas ever!"  Mind you, we were homeless at the time but the Salvation Army gave some gifts to the children.  It was one of the most stressful times of my life but to hear my son say that, I felt things were going to be okay.  Even though I was sad and stressed my children really didn't know. They still had their clothes, they still had their toys, and they had shelter and food.  I left a lot of my things go to the way side to ensure I could carry their things.  I had so much pride not to tell people anything.   I felt so alone because of my pride.  My mother knew I was sick and when I finally told her how bad it was she started crying and she asked, "Why didn't you tell me?"  It was my pride but it was also a deep feeling that I had to get through this on my own.  I knew if I stayed with somebody that I would not have the drive to get my own place, get my self established, or reinvent myself.  I tell people now that I was homeless and they tell me they are sorry, but actually as crazy as it sounds, it has been a life changing experience for the better.  

          I had so many dreams of owning my own clothing line, owning an apartment complex for the homeless, and so many others dreams all at the age of 8 or 9 years old.  I always put my dreams on the back burner and procrastinated but when I found out I had Lupus and went homeless it motivated me to go after my dreams with everything I have.  Yes, I was sad at first because I found out Lupus is a crippling disease but it pushed me to push further beyond what I ever reached prior to the disease.  Before I would procrastinate - tomorrow, tomorrow, I will do it tomorrow.  With my disease I realize tomorrow is not promised.  I tell my children along with my significant other that I love them every day and that they can do any thing they want in life.  My husband tells me how much he loves me and he tells me how special I am and he is so supportive of me and my dreams.   Although this disease may take my life, I keep pushing.   Lupus makes me not afraid to reach out to people to help with pursuing my dreams. I always tried to do things myself now I love reaching out to people to make things happen (that pride thing again).  I love to be able to help people.  I had it in me before but I'm not afraid to express it anymore. 

         I felt so wonderful when I was able to help someone later that year.  In the beginning of the year, I was homeless and by the end of the year I was helping a lady at the local Kmart. There was an elderly lady who looked like a grandmother with her little buggy.  I noticed that she was putting things back because she could not afford it.  I walked up to her and I was able to give her 100 dollar bill.  I asked her, "Are you a praying woman?"  She smiled and said, "Yes."  I said, "I'm going to give you something and I know you are not going to want to accept this but I have to give this to you." I explained my story how I was homeless and how I was doing better now.  She started crying and she started telling me about her story.  I thought it was only right to help because I remember people helping me at my lowest point.  I was at the gas station with my kids in the car with no money asking a total stranger, "Can you give me $10.00 to put in my gas tank?".

       I know in the beginning I said Lupus is a crippling disease, but it is truly a blessing. I really don't look at Lupus as a disease but as a new motivation to live everyday like it is my last!  I have to say the Salvation Army and the Veterans of America were instrumental in helping me get back on my feet.  The VA helped me get a home to live in.  Through the experience of me being homeless my whole family did not know about it and thinking back I can't imagine someone going through this who may not be as strong.  This was the start for me wanting to give back to help people and recognize people.  Two organizations have been instrumental to me and my family; the Lupus organization and the Veterans of America.  

         When I got back on my feet, I started a website called Ladies Wellness First.   Unfortunately, it didn't go the way we wanted to go.  The person I had the website developed by  and I had a falling out and he took the site down even after I paid for it.  But, from that site I started a show called Relationship Handbook Live, which also started from the group called Relationship handbook (click here for the link) . The gentlemen who did my commercials, Rob Carter, connected me to a gentleman named MR. HD from the 704 DJ's Syndicated Radio Network out of Charlotte, NC.  I told him that I wanted to have my own radio station and with my combined passion for music and to help people I thought having a radio station would be the perfect platform for me to do so.  My thought was who doesn't listen to the radio?  He told me that one person can't have a radio station but he gave me e opportunity to become part of his board.  He kind of tested me by giving me a list of things to do to get the station up such as business licenses, name, and register and I did that in a matter of days.  My radio station has exploded although it does not have the amount of listeners or as many followers as I'd like to have.  I have started from humble beginnings and it is growing steady every day.  I have a very supportive husband and when I get down he tells me I can keep going and sometimes all I need is to hear from it you can do it and I keep going.

          When I initially founded iCandy Radio, I thought it would just be an online station to help small businesses and independent artists. One day, it hit me that I could do so much more! I realized that I could be a voice for those who suffer with this disease and help those who are unable to afford medical assistance.  If I have enough events and we all come together to raise enough money, perhaps one day a cure will be found!  There are people who wonder how I stay so positive. To them, I say that I'm not going down without a fight. I will continue to let my life be a living testimony of what you can do when you are determined.  I am currently the Author of a book entitled  "The Relationhip Handbook" which is gives people the real talk blueprint on having the relationship they need and deserve. I am also a certified Life Coach. I would like to work with people like me who need that helping hand when it comes to the 4 corners of their life.

          My goal is to be a blessing to others. If my life can positively touch the life of another, and they touch the life of another, and so forth and so on, imagine the number of lives that will be touched. No matter how tired I get, no matter how frustrating things are, I keep in mind that this is SO much bigger than me. I made my pain into my purpose and that is what makes it all worth it!

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