Voices Across America

Controlling Lupus with Mindfulness and Meditation

Roxanne Lerner

State: Maryland
Congressional District: MD08


Immune Disease

Issues and Challenges

Roxanne Lerner has encountered: Disability, Job Insecurity / Loss

My Story

I was living and working in NYC when a diagnosis of lupus, thirteen years ago at the age of 27, changed my life forever.

It all started with my hands - as I tried to explain then, they just stopped working. Swollen and painful joints made it hard to even make my bed. I was experiencing unexplained weight loss and fatigue to the point where I was unable to stay awake past 8pm, and I was feeling anxious and depressed.

In a state of desperation, I took on my health like a full-time job. Willing to try just about anything to feel even a tiny bit better, I dove headfirst into meditation, something that was foreign to me. It took much practice to quiet what meditation teachers call the “monkey mind,” allowing me to give myself stillness and find ease in my mind and body. Mindfulness and meditation were not the buzz words they are today, but I found my spiritual home through different teacher's books and audio meditations. I didn’t realize at the time what a necessary break I was giving my nervous and immune system when I allowed myself to get quiet. This was my gateway into trusting my intuition.

From there I moved on to my diet and read as many nutrition books as I could get my hands on. I found an elimination diet that taught me gluten, dairy and soy were not my friends. Without those foods in my system, my joint pain and swelling started to dissipate. I knew that movement helped me with the fatigue and inflammation, so I made the gym a part of my daily routine even if only for 15-20 minutes on the bike. I also incorporated pilates and yoga, which I still practice today.

As I continued to heal, I became a certified yoga teacher and then trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition getting a certification as a holistic health coach. While I may not be able to work a full time job which has been my biggest challenge because of how much I loved the career path I was on, I continue to stay motivated by the fact that I can help others with autoimmune diseases find some relief and create sustainable healthy habits and lasting positive change through daily mindfulness practices.

My Motivation and Inspiration

I never imagined having the kind of energy that I do now which allows me to care for my two young children, dachshund and husband all while working as a holistic health coach and certified yoga teacher, supporting others with autoimmune diseases. While having lupus is not easy and requires a lot of time and attention, I see my story as one of hope and inspiration and it is my mission to help others achieve positive and lasting changes in their own lives.

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