Toni Braxton Reveals “This Is What Lupus Looks Like” On “Braxton Family Values”

 

I used to wish that I knew someone that was both famous and a Lupus patient so that they could shine a spotlight on Lupus Awareness in a way that I cannot.  On Tuesday May 3rd, Toni Braxton will show her true strength and courage on an all new “Braxton Family Values” , as she reveals to her family and, later, at a Lupus LA Luncheon to the attendees and assembled press,  that “this is what Lupus looks like”.   May is Lupus Awareness Month and I am glad that this episode will premiere on the first Tuesday night in May.

If you haven’t seen any of the episodes of “Braxton Family Values” that have already aired, let me share why I love this reality show.  The Braxton sisters are not a group of strangers that have been chosen to live together and given artificial conflicts to see what happens.  No casting calls went out in search of “dramatic” characters chosen from auditions.   What this has is a group of dynamic, beautiful women—all sisters–who truly love one another and often get on each others’ nerves.  The real fun happens when the five sisters come together in a group and the alcohol starts to flow.  The liquid courage has provided some fun moments as well as a few serious ones.   For example, in one recent episode Trina, known as “The Party Girl” (one of my least favorite things about this reality show is how each sister has a nickname that perpetually reminds the audience who each sister is), gets a DUI and the family stages an intervention with a therapist known only as “Dr. Sherry”.

The premiere episode introduced us to Toni “the Superstar”, the Grammy award winning singer and her sisters Traci “the wannabe”, who longs to get back in the limelight –she used to be one of Toni’s background singers and is now a housewife.  Towanda “the Responsible One” is a mom, Toni’s personal assistant and the level-headed sister of the family.  Trina, the previously mentioned “Party Girl”, is a background singer for Toni who knows how to enjoy a good time.   

Later in that episode, the family traveled to Bermuda as Toni performed at a benefit for Autism Speaks.  Knowing that Toni has Lupus, it is understandable that after the flight to Bermuda Toni is seen napping on her hotel bed while her sisters enjoy a poolside cocktail party.  Later, after the performance, Toni suggests that they enjoy a pajama party and drinks, but Toni is next seen asleep on her bed while her sisters wait – with drinks ready – in the other room.  While I may not be performing at huge benefits around the world, I do know that rest is a big part of my life and teaching the process of learning how to deal with the ebb and flow of my energy levels takes a while for loved ones to fully understand.  I like that Toni isn’t afraid to show the real reality of her life. In my opinion, the highlights of the show are the moments with Tamar “the Diva” (also a background singer for Toni) who desires a “Superstar” singing career of her own.  She is married to Toni’s manager Vince, who is also a big record producer who works with Lady Gaga, Pink and many others.  Vince is loving, gentle and doing the best he can to make his wife happy.  Watching (via the reality show cameras) is a “guilty pleasure” of mine and this show has the best elements within it.  Family trauma becomes family drama and this family is full of love, honesty and the cajones to reveal it on camera to share with us.

 For me, the life of the Braxton Family is a joyful and fun escape from the reality of my life.  However, last November while I was attending the Lupus LA “Bag Lady Luncheon” my reality and the reality show collided, as I was present when Toni Braxton told the events’ attendees that she has Lupus and that “This is what Lupus looks like”.  They were taping content for the episode that will raise Lupus Awareness and share Toni’s story of being diagnosed and revealing the disease to her family, friends and strangers.  I was there.  If you want to see my video of the Hollywood Bag Ladies Day & Toni Braxton’s revelation please check out:

http://www.youtube.com/user/LALupusLady?feature=mhum#p/u/4/xK9IVbKdPTE

 

Braxton Family Values airs on WE TV, with new episodes premiering on Tuesday night at 9PM Eastern and multiple encore airings throughout the rest of the week.

 

Article written by staff writer, Amanda Greene

 

Amanda is finding the joys of Lupus. She was diagnosed with Lupus and APS at 15 years old, now as”LA Lupus Lady” is an advocate for Lupus Research and Wellness. Amanda enjoys proving that Lupus Awareness is fun! Find her on Twitter @LALupusLady or at www.lalupuslady.com

 

©2010 butyoudontlooksick.com
  • LISA

    STAY STRONG EVERYONE THAT IS GOING THROUTH THIS DISEASE;GOD CAN DO ANYTHING!!!!!!

  • LISA

    My name is Lisa Watkins;I HAVE LUPUS;HAD IT FOR THIRTEEN YEARS;AND ON DIALYSIS;GOD IS SO GOOD!HANG IN THERE;LISA

  • life is precious

    Thank you for the kind words!

  • B Parker

    “Life Is Precious” GOD BLESS you, your story is amazing. You are obviously a fighter may you continue to progress in life and stay healthy!

  • Life is Precious

    Life experiences bring knowledge to people. Having a lot of
    good and bad experiences helps us improve our way of thinking. They open our
    minds and teach us unforgettable lessons about life, lessons that we have to
    apply in the future.

    I have lived such a life
    experience. In 1997, I woke up and was in a lot of pain, had a fever, and a
    rash that ran across my nose to my cheeks. This had me a little worried because
    I had just passed my 5 year anniversary of my kidney transplant. The doctor ran
    extensive blood tests, including what was called ALA testing for antibodies.
    The bad news had come; I was diagnosed with Lupus (SLE). Being so young at the
    time and not knowing about this disease, my first thought was “Oh my god, I’m really
    going to die now.” The doctor told me the rash on my face was called “The
    butterfly rash.” In most cases, it’s the
    tell-tale sign for diagnosing lupus.

    My life had changed after that visit, I felt like the
    hospital was my second home. One day, a friend and I were leaving a casino we
    stopped by; all of a sudden I couldn’t move. It was as if I was paralyzed. They
    drove me to the ER. I had blood tests drawn and my potassium level was
    elevated, 8.9 to be exact, a deadly level. The doctors had inserted a temporary
    catheter for the emergency dialysis I would need in the minutes ahead.

    I thought I died because the next thing I knew, I wasn’t able
    to talk because I was hooked up to a ventilator. I tried to pull the tube out.
    The nurse told me, “that is to help you breathe and it will come out in a day
    or so.” The lupus had attacked my new
    lease on life! My transplanted kidney had failed. As if this weren’t enough I already
    had fibromyalgia and had to take tons on meds; prednisone being one of many.

    Dialysis three times a week became a routine part of my life,
    just as waking up every morning was. The next seven years I struggled with
    life; having a stroke at age 23, having to follow a fluid restriction, not
    being able to eat all my favorite foods, and I was not able to drive my car to
    get groceries because I was so drained to drive, so on Mondays, Wednesdays, and
    Fridays Meals on wheels was my savior!

    In 2002, I received my second kidney transplant. I was able
    to attend college and graduate with my AAS in nursing. I also got engaged to a
    guy who I met while being able to go out with friends.

    Today, I am living a normal life. I just started school again after 5 years to get my ADN. I thank god for the opportunity to be alive and be a nurse. It has enabled me
    to see and feel what others are experiencing as a patient; having had lupus, a
    stroke and being on dialysis myself. Life is precious!

  • Kamada

    Being diagnosed with Lupus when I was 21 was very scary. One of my older sister was diagnosed with Lupus when she was 9. She passed away when she was 39 of complications from the desease and medication. I have gone through to major flares both during my pregnancies. My 2nd pregnancy was the worst flare. I was on high doses of prednisone (60 a day) during the pregnancy. My daughter was born pre muture weighning 4.6 oz. We are all fine now. She is turning 29 this May and I haven’t had another flare since my second pregnancy. I am glad to say I am pretty healthy and don’t experience any complications from the decease. Each case is so different than the next, And you’re right you need to stay positive and stay healthy and have positive and supportive people surround you.

  • angel haines

    hello im angel i am 18 years old and i was diagnosed with lupus to at the age 17 and me and my mom is is going through a tun of problems with my lupus i live in west virginia and my lupus hit me all at one time like m y body was swelling like a air baloon and i was having truoble in the heat and all of that stuff well if u can talk to me about this more and what type of lupus do you have i will be onered to talk thank u for listening.:)

  • http://google hi everyone just learning about toni disease i am a 30 years old lady fr jamaica people i have been to hell and back with this thing only holding on god be us all fr nancy

    please be strong ever day medication im hang in their.

  • jasmine

    I have lupus & im just getting well you ate in my prayers

  • Resh

    I also I have Lupus SLE, I am so glad someone as talented and beatiful can be the face of lupus.

  • BERNICE

    MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO THE BRAXTON FAMILY TONI WE R PRAYING WITH U I HAD A SISTER WHO HAD LUPUS SHE PUT UP A FIGHT FOR ALONG TIME UNTIL GOD CALLED HER HOME I THINK ABOUT HER EVERYDAY RIP VALERIE TONI WISHING U THE BEST N U HAVE SO MUCH LOVE FROM FAMILY N FANS

  • Redds

    I pray everything works out for her, I am a witness to what lupus can do, I lost my niece to systematic lupus and it definitively doesn’t care for age, gender, nor race….wishing you the best!

  • http://facebook annmarie sariano

    it was really brave to come and talk about your lupis.i also suffer from lupis for years.thought i dont look sick from the outside its so hard for me to make the family understand what it is every day just to stay strong and not to give in to this disease.im with you all the way on this and god bless . annmarie s

  • Nyvia

    I had lupus since I was 23 now I am 41. now I was just diagnosed with mctd. I also have marfans syndrome, go figure. it’s such a draining disease. you have to eat healthy get lots of rest. Its not fun when you want to go out with your friends but you can’t cause you’re feeling soooo exhausted. I am so glad that toni Braxton is making it aware that lupus is real and it’s not in our heads. we need to make this disease more aware cause lots of people have it and don’t know. the pain is also very depressing. keep doing your thing ms. Braxton and Ty.

  • LOVELY

    I ALSO HAVE LUPUS,AND IT FEEL LIKE IF SOMEONE HAS STEPPED IN MY BODY AND TAKING OVER..I THINK THAT THERE SHOULD BE MORE AWARENESS ON LUPUS ALOT OF PEOPLE DONT UNDERSTAND IT OR THINK ITS JUST ANOTHER NAME THE DOCOTORS HAS MADE UP FOR SOMETHING ELSE..MY SISTER HAS IT AS WELL AND THEY HAVE BEEN TESTING MY 14 YR DAUGHTER FOR IT.I JUST PRAY THAT SHE DOESNT HAVE IT I CANT IMAGIN HER GOING THROUGH THE THING I HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH I WOULD FEEL AT FAULT AND AS IF I FAILED HER.WITH MY LUPUS I HAVE HEART PROBLEMS,KIDNEY PROBLEM EYE PROBLEMS I CANT EAT CERTAIN FOODS BECAUSE MY STOMACH HAS BEEN EFFECTED AS WELL . I PRAY FOR ALL THOSE THAT HAS THIS ILLNESS I WOULDNT WISH THIS ON ANY BODY.AND BECAUSE MY DR. OVER LOOKED IT FOR SO MANY YRS ,SHE KNEW BUT I DIDNT SO WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH NOW COULD HAVE BEEN UNDER CONTROL SOMEWHAT BUT IT WENT 7YRS UNTREATED SO EVERYTHING IS OUT OF CONTROL NOW MY DR. DONT KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN NOR END..SUE MY DR THAT COULD HAD CAUGHT IT AND HAD IT UNDER CONTROL OF COURSE I COULD BUT I AM TIRED OF FIGHTING..

  • LaChar Williams

    I understand what Lupus is and I live it everyday with my five children, I tell anyone it’s a fight.

  • Kristi Wallace

    I agree with others when they say now that a celebrity that has been cursed with this horrible disease has come forward, perhaps the awareness will spread a little more rapidly. I too have Lupus and it has attacked my kidneys…yes, kidney failure. Details and exposure are incredibly important if we want people to learn of this disease. There are those out there who still believe that it is a disease that is “made up” or “all in our minds.” I’d like to thank Toni Braxton for disclosing such a personal part of her life to the world. Again, awareness is what we NEED!!!

  • Elaine E. Rainey

    Hello everybody, I just want to say take good care of yourself and continue to pray. I get the “but you don’t look sick” comment also. Ms. Braxton I don’t know if you will ever get this email, but I hate that you have it!!! Like BD said I am glad also that we have a famous face to spread the awarness, maybe a cure will come quickly for those that suffer, like me, you and Ms. Braxton. Make it happen Ms. Braxton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anita

    I absolutely loved this episode. I truly didn’t see that coming as Toni revealed that she has Lupus/looking back I understand her Laid back swagger now because I was just recently diagnosed w/MS. Both Lupus & MS Mimics one another a great deal. Both drains your energy; chronic fatigue & stress will trigger your well being. No one will ever know that we have this illness because w/Lupus & MS… it doesn’t effect how you look [Thank Gawd!] only how you feel. So when Toni said ‘This is what Lupus Looks Like’ I TOTALLY understood. :-) Thank You Toni Braxton for sharing your story w/us!

  • http://chanis@nycap.rr.com Claire Hannis

    This show will be on again Thursday @ 10:00 a.m. on channel 65, I am from the Capital District (Watervliet).

    A friend knowing that I have Lupus and Fibromyalgia IBS
    and raynauds thought that I would get some encouragement from this program, I am looking forward to seeing it in the morning.

  • http://www.supermodelrevealed.tumblr.com Sonya

    I agree with BD…the show is not about Lupus…it’s about the interactions with the Braxton sisters. I’m just glad that she stepped forward and is promoting awareness about Lupus!

  • http://randomdaysofme.blogspot.com BD

    I agree that it was focused a lot on the drama around the sisters, etc however that is what the show is about so I understand that part. They don’t want to alienate the viewers that watch the show for that aspect.

    I did like how they focused on the serious aspects of the disease such as organ involvment (heart) and didn’t brush it off as a nuisance disease as other programs and such has protrayed it (‘take this medicine and you’ll be fine’).

    I’m glad we have a famous face to help spread the awareness. Every little bit helps.

  • http://www.supermodelrevealed.tumblr.com Sonya

    Im really surprised that her family members didnt know and that she kept it a secret for two years.

  • Barbara

    Having the more severe form of the disease myself I have often wished for someone famous to come forward, I personally am glad she is going public with her experience to help bring awareness to this difficult disease. My heart goes out to her and anyone else struggling with Lupus.

  • http://facebook/lindabozant Linda

    What a disappointment! More time was spent on air-brushed tans and one sister’s habit of smacking her lips than was spent on “what lupus looks like.”

  • http://familyplusfoodequalslove-dottie.blogspot.com Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Thanks for sharing Amanda. Great article. I haven’t watched the show yet. But tonight I will be watching. It is perfect especially that it is on in May…I wonder if they worked that out with the WE TV network. Well, anyway at least the show will bring attention to our disease. The world needs to be educated and maybe this will help. Thanks again. I wish you many “spoons.”
    :) <3

  • heather morgan

    Oh, my heart goes out to her, she has a child with autism and now she has a chronic disease herself! Rough road for Toni!

  • http://www.supermodelrevealed.tumblr.com Sonya

    I was waiting for her to tell the world what “Lupus really looks like” I’m glad that she’s stepping forward to tell her story.