Counselor’s Heartache After Helping A Friend With Lupus

I was already a licensed psychologist and counselor when my childhood friend reconnected with me. We lost our communication when she moved to California to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. When we were already in our mid-20s, she finally landed a significant role in a movie and started getting a lot of recognition. However, that was also the same time when she got diagnosed with lupus.

When my friend called me, she was seeking psychology and counseling. She said that she did not want to go to any mental health facility in LA for fear of the paparazzi hounding her. Everyone knew about her lupus, but no one knew that she was struggling to accept that diagnosis. So, of course, I agreed to be her counselor.


Counseling A Friend

I would say that this was a unique type of counselor-client relationship, considering I had a personal connection with the person seeking counseling. Instead of asking my friend to go to my clinic, I would go to her house and conduct counseling there. My friend had a hard time dealing with the fact her face was often swelling up as it was a symptom of her autoimmune disease. There were also days when she could not get up due to body pains. However, I noticed how her mood improved since I started counseling her.

Unfortunately, the improvement only lasted for a couple of months because my friend eventually got the news that her autoimmune illness aggravated. Worse, it caused renal failure. Assuming you don’t know what that was, it entailed that her kidneys were deteriorating.

Kidneys were important for filtering all the impurities in the system. Only 10% of her kidneys were functioning in my friend’s case, so most contaminants that go into her body stay there, slowly poisoning her.


My friend called me on the eve of that new diagnosis, crying. She said, “I don’t know what to do anymore; I don’t want to live anymore. I get needles stuck in my arms every single day, and I am not getting better. Then, she made a request. “Can you stay at my house for a little while until I figure out what I can do with my life?”

I thought long and hard about it, considering that was not allowed in a normal circumstance. But since we had a long history, I said yes, and we started having an informal form of counseling every day. We would go to work during the day, and then we would have a long talk after dinner. It mainly was her crying and talking about how challenging it was to hide her pain at studios and in front of fans and staff members. Then, I would advise her to stay strong because it was not the end of the road.

Finding Light

On my friend’s next doctor’s appointment, the doctor said that her kidneys could no longer be salvaged. But if she could find a kidney donor, her chances of living longer would go up exponentially.


Organ transplants are that your net worth does not always indicate how fast you can get someone to donate an organ to you. My friend could spend millions of dollars in an instant, but the doctor still placed her on the waiting list along with hundreds of thousands of regular people who needed Kidneys. The only shortcut that the doctor could suggest was having a relative or friend donate their kidney to her.

For an entire month, my friend went through all her family members to see if they could match. Unfortunately, none of them were. She felt like giving up again until I said, “Well, we haven’t tried me yet.” I was willing to give up a portion of my kidney to save my friend. We turned out to be a match, so the operation proceeded. And succeeded.

Being Pushed Away

My friend and her family told me how grateful they were for my sacrifice. They also said that they would be eternally indebted to me. Of course, they handled my hospital bills and future checkups and even got a nurse to check on me once I moved back home to recuperate.


However, I experienced my first heartache since helping my friend when I watched one of her interviews post-operation. A reporter asked about her transplant experience, and she merely referred to me as the organ donor. Although it was on point, it also felt cold because I was her friend before becoming her donor.

When I contacted my friend a month later to ask her to hang out with me, her assistant called me back, saying she won’t have time until next year. That was another slap in the face. It made me realize that people could genuinely change once they got what they wanted from you.

Final Thoughts

Since I lost communication with my friend, I worked through my upsetting emotions towards her on my own. I chose to forgive her instead of holding a grudge against her. I did it for myself because I wanted to move on and get on with my life.

If my friend would call me one day and ask for my forgiveness, that would be up to her. If she didn’t, it was okay, too. It’s not my ass that karma would bite anyway.

Counseling Someone With A Possible Hashimoto’s Disease

I grew up with a fear of needles. My pediatrician, when I was a child, did not have the softest touch, you see. All I remembered was that she would squeeze the part of my arm to inject the needle and jam it there without warning. It wasn’t very good, to say the least. Because of that, when I became an adult, and my parents were like, “You are old enough to get an executive checkup every year now,” I said, “Uh, no, thanks.”

The reason was that I had seen my parents get those checkups in the past and knew that one consisted of a lot of examinations, and some of them would require blood extraction. Meaning there would be needles involved. Even if my parents told me that not all doctors and nurses were as harsh as my old pediatrician, I still did not want to take chances.

Another reason why I was not so keen on getting an executive checkup was that I felt healthy. I was 5’1; I weighed 71 kg. I was technically overweight, but I felt normal. I said I knew my body more than anyone and was also very young at the time (only 26).


When The Deed Had To Be Done

There were three long months when I worked nonstop due to overlapping projects. I would wake up at 8:00 a.m. and go to work by 9. While most people would go home at 5 o’clock, I would stay in the building until midnight, finishing my projects. To keep me awake, I would order fast food all the time, feeling like the greasy foods would help compensate for my exhaustion.

Sooner than later, though, my feet started aching. For instance, since I had my own office, and I would be alone there most of the time at night, I would sit in an Indian position. I used to do that for hours, but this time, my feet and ankles began to ache after two hours. I found it odd, but I thought that I merely overextended my feet. After all, I learned that it was a thing and that it was nothing that a good exercise could not fix.

During the weekend, I decided to go hiking. I loved working out outdoors instead of signing up for a gym membership; I had just not been able to do that because of my busy schedule in the last few months. However, I noticed that I had difficulty breathing after only walking for 3 kilometers. It used to be easy-peasy for me, considering I had solid lungs and did marathons not too long ago.


Then, when I went on an eight-hour car ride with my friends, I was only a passenger, so I got to extend my feet. I was not paying attention to them, but it felt like someone was gripping my ankles, making my feet a little numb. Once I looked down, I saw that they were very swollen. That’s when I got scared. That’s when I thought, “Oops, that’s not normal. I need to see a doctor after this trip.”

I called our family doctor first and told him about my symptoms. Since I was overweight and knew about my relatives’ history with diabetes, he wanted me to do a fasting blood sugar test to rule out the possibility of me having the disease. It turned out I was prediabetic, but it could be resolved quickly. It could not be the reason why I experienced achy or swollen feet or breathlessness.

The doctor then asked me to get FSH, FT3, and FT4 lab tests as they were all meant to check someone’s thyroid conditions. It sounded a little scary to me. It meant more needles, but there was no going back. I got the tests done, and when the results returned, the doctor gave me devastating news. My thyroids were flaring up.


I most likely have Hashimoto’s disease, a form of autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. The doctor said there was no cure for it except for a significant lifestyle change and constant monitoring. He must have noticed my devastation; before I left, he recommended a counselor to me. He said, “Sometimes, we need help in accepting a medical diagnosis.”


Our family doctor was spot-on – I could not accept that I had an autoimmune disorder. I knew that my aunt had that, but she got diagnosed in her early 40s. I was too young to worry about chronic illnesses like that.

Those were just some of the issues I mentioned once I contacted the counselor. She was patient enough to listen to me, although I felt like a whiny little kid while doing so. “How can I accept it?” I asked in the end.


“Well, you need to see it in another light. Do you think it’s better if you have not known about your illness? No – it may have aggravated that way. Instead of getting upset, it is healthier to be thankful for knowing your medical condition early so that you can stop doing things that can make matters worse than ever.”

I had to do counseling a few more times, but those words stuck to me. The counselor was correct in every way. I should be grateful for an early diagnosis, so that’s what I tried to do. It was not the doctor’s fault that I had Hashimoto’s disease, after all. I had to change my lifestyle habits, work less, exercise more, and eat more healthily.

I would have become depressed instead of thinking of that if I did not see a counselor immediately.

There’s Something Wrong with My Wife, and Autoimmunity Is To Blame 

I am married to my wife for almost 20 years now, and our relationship is something that I always take into consideration. Every decision I make, I make sure that it doesn’t affect the way my wife and I would handle our marital lives. However, these past few weeks, I noticed something different about her and it somehow scared me. 


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5 Quick Facts About Autoimmune Disorders



Autoimmune disorders are more common than you might think; yet, many are confused about what it is. To clarify all your questions, here are five quick facts and statistics about Autoimmune disorders.


  1. Autoimmune disorders are diseases that affect the immune system.


More specifically, the disorder pertains to the immune system’s inability to distinguish healthy cells from the unhealthy. Usually, the immune system tells the antibodies to attack unhealthy cells. But with this disorder, the immune system signals the antibodies to attack the healthy ones by mistake.

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Leading Therapies and Treatments for Autoimmune Diseases

The human body is composed of systems which are responsible for taking care of the body. One of which is the “immune system.” Our immune system is the one responsible for fighting off foreign bacteria that prevents us from getting ill.


However, if our immune system is damaged, there’s a tendency to develop Autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease is a body disorder in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your healthy and functional cells.

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