By Dia Wall firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamara Pipkin is a lady who exudes life from her trademark style to her swift hands.
So when she slowed down, that's when she knew something wasn't right.
She tells us, "Oh I was tired. Extremely tired, like running up a hill tired. No matter what I did or how much I slept, I was tired."
After five years of seeing various doctors and specialists, and ANA test pinpointed the problem.
Tamara was Lupus positive.
"It hurt. It scared me," Tamara said.
She says "It attacks your body. It attacks every organ in your body including your hair, your nails, everything that's an organ. Which, your skin is an organ also. It attacks that also."
It's been 15 years since the day she was diagnosed.
Tamara calls that the darkest point in her life, saying "I cried a lot. I was very angry with everything and everybody."
But she put one foot in front of the other and began her treatment.
"It was many doctors, many medications. I have at least 15 doctors and I was taking over 30 medications a day," Tamara said.
For Tamara, that was the turning point. Even with all the medication and treatment for her lupus, she didn't feel good. so she got busy, literally.
Tamara says "I do a lot more exercise. I go to Zumba. I'm getting ready to start yoga, which is something a lot of people don't understand. You can be in pain, but my pain is lessened when I go to classes like that."
The next step was her diet. She says "I eat more raw fruits and vegetables. I drink a lot of smoothies, a lot of water and a lot of fresh juice. I feel like that whole overhaul was only because God gave me the mind frame to do what I had to do to make myself better."
She also says her diagnosis is what brought her back to her faith.
"When I got to my lowest, that's when I got back in touch with God. You know, texted Him or called Him and said 'hey Jesus, I know I've been at this point, but God please can you help me?'"
These days you can find Tamara holed up in her craft room, making everything from tutus to earrings.
Tamara says "I make a lot of hair bows because I have two beautiful grandchildren that have to have hair bows with their outfit. (Every outfit?) Every outfit."
"Nana's girls," as she calls them, come to see Tamara often, and she says she cherishes being able to run and play with them.
She wanted to leave one piece of advice from her experience.
"The best thing you can do for yourself is stay close to God, do good for yourself and everything else will fall into place."
Tamara says she shares her recipes and fitness tips with anyone who will listen.