Chantrise Sims Holliman – My Lupus Story

I’ve known Chantrise for some years now.  Our children were in the same grade, and we lived in the same community.  I welcomed her child into my home and vice versa, even til this day.  Our families are family to each other.  She’s my sister.  In all the time I’ve known Chantrise, I understand her strength and endurance to be second to none.  Her accomplishments keep me proud.  She’s filled with life and is a mother/teacher to so many.  Chantrise lives with Lupus SLE, and though she has Lupus, it does not have her. Meet Chantrise Sims Holiman.

 

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Chantrise Sims Holliman’s life with Lupus SLE began in 2007 at the age of 34. Truthfully, the symptoms had been there since she was a teenager but because diagnosing Lupus is so difficult, and doctors have to know to look for it, it went unchecked until she was 34. Symptoms like joint pain in her knees and hips were attributed to her running track in high school. Her hands going a bloodless white and getting cold even on a 90 degree day was attributed to anemia. As she got older even she attributed her bouts of forgetfulness to stress. Nothing more.

 

This all changed on the day that she woke up and the pain in her elbows had become so severe she could only hold her arms at a 90 degree angle. She went to the ER and they told her she probably pulled a muscle or hit it somehow without noticing, gave her some medication, and sent her home. After three consecutive days of this, even she had to admit something was wrong. As an educator and single mother (at the time), Chantrise didn’t often take the time to take care of herself. She was a self-proclaimed workaholic and proud of it. Grinding for her students and her daughter was nothing new and it was the only way she knew how to operate. However, when she arrived at her doctor’s office and told him of her issues with her elbow, he informed her that her symptoms either meant a) she had developed rheumatoid arthritis or b) she had Lupus. He went on further to tell her that based on her age, race, and gender he was pretty certain it was the latter and not the former. He was correct. It was at that moment that Mrs. Holliman began educating herself about the illness and discovered how many women around her were battling it as well. However, never the one to claim defeat, she continued to keep a very hectic schedule as a teacher, doctoral student, mother, wife, coordinator of programs for students struggling in school, teacher mentor, and the like until the Summer of 2013 when she experienced a “flare” so severe she was nearly hospitalized. It was at that moment that she realized she had to make some changes and with the help of family, friends, and a group of determined students she began the journey of taking better care of herself.

 

Currently, she is managing her symptoms with diet and exercise using the Beachbody system and Shakeology (and medication but only if needed for pain) along with making sure she gets plenty of rest and does her best to keep her stress level low. However, a few weeks ago, even with all of that, Chantrise had a flare that was different than what she was used to and found herself back in the ER with pain so severe morphine barely took the edge off. Once again, the doctor’s medicated her and sent her home but this time they knew she had Lupus and ran no blood work to see what might be causing the pain. It took her amazing doctor, the next day, to again listen to her symptoms and tell her that she was having a flare but this time it was impacting her nervous system not her muscles and joints which is why the pain medication wasn’t working. This, along with elevated enzymes in her liver and kidneys, a white cell count that was extremely low, and the knowledge that she had been sick most of 2016, her doctor made the decision to put Chantrise on medical leave for 30 days to give her time to rest and get her health back in check. Which is what she is trying to do, but it’s hard to keep a superwoman down.

 

Chantrise has received several honors including: Teacher of the Year at her high school for the 2010-2011 school year, finalist for Teacher of the Year for Fulton County Schools the same year, Honor Roll for the Fishman Prize, a national award through The New Teacher Project, Master Teacher status from the State of Georgia where she was one of only 3 high school teachers in Fulton County and one of only 58 teachers in the state to receive the endorsement, and most recently, The Atlanta Families Award for Excellence in Education (www.atlantafamilies.org) as well as being named a finalist for The Fishman Prize, also sponsored by The New Teacher Project (www.tntp.org).

 

Her current projects include finishing her dissertation and establishing herself as a national teacher trainer and speaker through her company Disturb the Universe, LLC which focuses on helping educators and school leaders think creatively to find unique solutions for improving academic outcomes for students.

 

Link to fundraising page:  http://lfach.convio.net/goto/Holliman

Link to Beachbody page: www.beachbodycoach.com/DOCHOLLI

Twitter: @hollimanspeaks or @Disturbtheuniv

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