Georgiana’s Lupus Survivor Story

When I tell people my story, I’m always told that I have a lot of Resilience, but I’ve never understood what it means. According to the Oxford dictionary, Resilience means “The Capacity to recover from trauma”. My life has been full of events that will challenge many and provide a whole new meaning to resilience.

My story begins in 1990 at the end of Ceausescu’s reign, the Romanian dictator who took the population’s money for himself, forcing young girls to sell themselves as prostitutes in order for the family to survive. I was the result of this, along with many other babies, unwanted by their young mothers and sent to rough orphanages. The first 8 months of my life were spent in an overcrowded, understaffed orphanage, being left to cry/scream and sit in my own shit for the day.

After 8 Months I was adopted by a New Zealander but was raised in a highly abusive and stressful family. At the age of 12, I was disowned by my mother and father and put in a mental institute, because I was “acting out”. During this time I was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune illness, which later on I had to finally come to terms with. After a year of back and forth of hospitals, institutes, and my parent’s house, my aunt and uncle took me in, however, the abuse started all over again! When I finally thought I was free from being unwanted and not accepted I was told I would have to undergo six courses of chemotherapy as a treatment for Lupus of the kidneys. I remember a family member’s words when I was told this: “It’s your own fault”

While I was undergoing treatment I attended my first year at University trying to do psychology and sociology and failed. Two years later I then underwent open heart surgery due to lupus attacking my heart valves and one year after, while trying to complete a diploma in youth work I suffered a stroke, which fully changed my life in both positive and negative ways.

Negatively, I lost movement on my left side and had to be admitted to a rehab centre. All I wanted during this time was family who would support me during this life-changing experience, that’s why I chose to go to a rehab centre closer to home and family. I won’t get into it but it was one of my biggest mistakes. I felt like I was living in hell, to this day I think about it and realize how alone and vulnerable I was with people who were so ignorant to the fact I was severely unwell and even suicidal. Although I was an adult at the time, they still continued to abuse someone who was having to relearn how to walk and use her left arm! I truly don’t know how I survived, this would have to be my lowest point, but it was the people in Wellington that kept my hopes up!

Referring back to resilience, giving up was never an option.I found strength in believing there was a wider reason such as later on in life, being able to share my story to encourage others not to give up on hope.

Positively I was able to make a fresh start and I went on to live with a Christian family who I met through doing the Diploma, and for the first time in my 23 years of life, I knew I was unconditionally loved, and accepted, no matter the mistakes and the amount of sleeping that I did in the first year of recovery. I know that I come with a lot of baggage Mark and Bridget always gave me the time and space to unload, they changed my life for the better, allowing me to finally love myself and be the crazy, inappropriate, confident women I feel I am to this day, and no matter what, they’re always there for me, and so is the Urban Vision family( a Christian-based community who live by ‘giving your most to the least) who the family introduced me too!

My pain doesn’t stop there. As a 25-year-old, I had to undergo a hysterectomy (my inner lady parts were removed) to give me a better chance at life. During that time I went through hell once again, both physically (almost dying and having to be rushed back into surgery to prevent me from bleeding to death and getting infection after infection) as well as psychologically, Being a young woman grieving the loss of what some people claim to be the means of womanhood! I have to give kudos to Ngatiawa river monastery who took me back and forth to the hospital, and being with me for the entire night where I was so sickly thinking that my time was up! But I’m ok now! Living the Life!

I wanted to share my story to show that you can have times of desperation and pain, but the greatest emotion, ‘that conquers all’ is love! I’m a hard, frustrating case, but Urban vision is my family, After putting my story on paper, I realize how tough and resilient I am, and understand that my life could be so different now, but I think it’s in my genes to fight and not flight!

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