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Conversations with Rosadela Durruthy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rosadela Durruthy.

Hi Rosadela, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Growing up, I was introduced to lupus watching my uncle, Pedro Durruthy, battle the disease. It was because of this experience that after two years of doctors appointments and being told at age 23 that I was “too young” to be having joint pain and extreme fatigue that I asked to be tested for lupus and was able to confirm my diagnosis of SLE – systemic lupus erythematosus. Throughout my years with lupus, I have experienced heartbreak, loss, shame, humility and most importantly, self-awareness. I have multiple diagnosis, symptoms and treatments that have given me an empathy for others also struggling with invisible diseases. The reason I advocate for others is mostly because of my experience with my own diagnosis and struggles and also from helping my uncle who was a lupus survivor for 30 years until COVID took him in December of 2020. I started my organization, She’s Got Lupus Company, in 2020 as a means to inspire others in their own lupus journey. In 2021 I made the organization into a non-profit in hopes to spread lupus awareness and raise funding for our community.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Like anything in life, there have been struggles I had to overcome. Having a debilitating disease at a young age causes you to be unable to care for yourself let alone your children. I was also in an abusive marriage that further aggravated my condition, as stress is a major cause of flare ups with lupus. Between lupus and leaving that marriage, I fell into a deep depression that for a few years, I became stuck mentally. It wasn’t until 2019 that the fog began to lift when I did a mental health testimony for Hooper Mentality, another great organization that provides resources in mental health training. Something about sharing your story gives you ownership over your narrative and that empowered me to make changes for my mental health that soon began to impact my physical health.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
As founder of She’s Got Lupus, I have been asked to speak during San Diego Guardian basketball’s halftime presentation for Lupus Awareness Month, May 2021. I held a Paint n’ Pot June 2021, which was a lupus awareness event where we painted and planted succulents. One of my goals for this year is to hold more events throughout the year. I speak on my social media under the tag @shesgotlupus about lupus and mental health which has lead to opportunities like being asked by WebMD to be a Lupus Community Leader for their Facebook page, and now I am also a facilitator for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California’s Chula Vista Support Group as well as a Lupus ambassador for DrugVui. The support groups are going to be every month starting in February and sign ups are on my website www.shesgotlupus.com. I have also started a podcast, Through the Pain, to empower those with chronic illnesses to live their best life. that is available on Apple, Google and Spotify podcasts. I am most proud of the public speaking role for the simple fact that it was my first one. I had to overcome the mental barrier I had on myself to step out and be vulnerable to a crowd of people. I think the fact that I am vulnerable with my followers sets me apart and others are able to relate to my story as a domestic violence survivor, a parent, a lupus warrior, and a mental health advocate. I am transparent about my journey so others know we will have ups and downs but we are able to push through the pain to succeed.

What matters most to you? Why?
What matters most to me is my family. I want to be able to see my kids grow up and fulfill their dreams. I fight to survive to see them succeed. My nature is a caregiver, from a young age my uncle called me his nurse and I feel like I have found my purpose in helping others. So if one person tells me they heard me or read something I put out and it inspired them or helped them, I feel like I’ve done good.

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Image Credits

Christopher Smith

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