Who is Tracy Darden?
I Choose to Live...
My name is Tracy Darden and I am a LUPUS THRIVER.
A thriver is a person who sees opportunity, success and prosperity. I am living my life with endless possibilities. Even though I am diagnosed with lupus, I choose to live…and my goal is to help you to live your life more abundantly.
Here is my story…
In 2006, my life and lupus collided together. I knew something was wrong because I felt intense fatigue and I had lost my appetite. This feeling escalated quickly to the point that I temporarily lost vision in my left eye. My doctor soon prescribed an intense regimen of medication that caused my body to have every side effect with each drug. I honestly felt hopeless…my body was rejecting the treatments and I didn’t have anywhere to turn. I felt like my life was over and that these drugs were crippling my health even more.
For five months, I was on a high dosage of steroids; I felt druggy and delusional -- a feeling similar to morning sickness. I knew I needed a change and my husband, Miles Darden, reached out to our family friend, Donna Nealy, owner and physical fitness coach of Esteem – A Total Transformation. My body was thin as a rail, my hair was falling out and I didn’t feel like myself. I was going through depression and I just wanted Tracy back.
Through the assistance of Donna Nealy, I started to wean myself off my medication, I changed my eating habits, I started working out and I chose a holistic approach to conquer my lupus symptoms. I currently use herbal remedies to support my immune health by drinking elderberry tea; and for fluid buildup and inflammation, I use oregano oil and dandelion capsules.
Some of my lupus symptoms I currently deal with:
Swollen eyes, throat and lips
Swollen feet and knees
Swollen hands and shoulders
Swollen lymph nodes that cause lumps in breast (mammograms are necessary)
Fluid around heart and kidney (that causes protein build-up in my urine)
Heavy menstrual cycles
Now that I have my life under control, I have taken my new-found energy to empower women through health and wellness workshops and fitness support groups through my nonprofit organization, the Live Life Foundation. In addition, my husband and I use the power of photography as a lifestyle movement to raise awareness about lupus through fashion and beauty.
Since 2012, the Live Life Foundation has raised more than $12,000 for lupus research through bi-annual charity fashion shows such as Inspirational Flow (2012), The Suite Life (2014), and Beauty Beyond the Look (2017).
I believe through my journey that my life’s purpose is to help people live a better life and I stand on my healing knowing that…”By His Stripes I Am HEALED.” (Isaiah 53: 4-5)