Dear readers: Build a strong support system

Kim Esquerra Topa with her husband and dog

This Women’s Health Month, we’re empowering you to take charge of your health. Expanding on the pillars that shape CanPrev Women, we will be highlighting the health journeys of four amazingly courageous women. Women who felt that something was ‘off’ in their bodies, and took matters into their own hands in an effort to reclaim their health. We hope these stories inspire you to take a page out of their book, so you can feel your best.

Dear readers,

Having a support system is one of the most important parts of your healthcare journey. Whether it’s your family and friends or a community group, it’s reassuring to know that there are people you can count on to help you through the good times and the bad.

Take Kim Esguerra Topa, for example. In her last year of high school, Kim noticed that she had started to experience muscle spasms, bleeding gums, and on top of all that, she was falling asleep in class every day. She even fainted at the mall during one of her lunch breaks, which ended up resulting in a hospital visit.

The doctors struggled to pinpoint what the issue was since Kim had so many different symptoms. It wasn’t until she met with a doctor who took one look at her cheeks and diagnosed her with lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s organs. Since lupus tends to mimic other diseases, it can be difficult to diagnose.

When you receive a diagnosis for a chronic illness, it can feel like your whole world is being turned upside down. Staying grounded and true to yourself while navigating this healing journey can be difficult. But a strong support system, just like Kim’s, can make a world of a difference. From her family and friends, to her team of doctors, psychotherapists, social workers, and nurses, Kim was able to build a strong, caring network of people who took care of her physically, but also helped her through feelings of grief, anxiety, and depression.

The takeaway? Build your own circle of support, whoever they may be. Reach out to your loved ones, your neighbours, and maybe even friends you’ve lost contact with. Don’t hesitate to seek out help from healthcare professionals. Surround yourself with the people who help you become the best version of yourself.

Check out our conversation with Kim, as she tells us everything from her diagnosis with lupus to her journey of learning how to thrive, even with a chronic illness. Kim’s support system got her through, and now, she looks back at those difficult times as a period of growth, and you can too.

Until next time,

CanPrev Women

If you also suffer from a chronic illness, here are some resources that you can look into:

If you’re looking for some self-care tips, check out these links below:

A special shoutout to all nurses: Happy National Nursing Week! Thank you so much for all your hard work, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the vital role you play in each and every patient’s healthcare journey. We appreciate you and all that you do.

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