Imagine moving across the country with no family and no friends in sight. Imagine suddenly having to navigate a new world with no crutch to hold onto. What do you do? Do you sink or do you swim? Tonneta Drummond chose to swim.
A budding accountant by trade and liturgical dancer by passion Tonneta Drummond was your average healthy young woman. She exercised, ate healthy and did all she could within reason to take care of herself. Like many young adults,Tonneta loved to be on the go. After being in North Carolina for only a short period of time she suddenly began to feel her body and life slow her down.
Tonneta first began to notice changes in her energy levels but didn't worry about it, "I"m not typically the kind of person who goes to sleep early but I started noticing I couldn't function. I would literally crash mid-day and I didn't know why," Tonneta said. So like many others she brushed it off.
As time progressed she started having more and more aches and pains that she could no longer just brush off and after several visits to the doctor and a brief stay in the hospital Tonneta was diagnosed with Lupus.
Lupus as defined by the Lupus Foundation of America is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). It is estimated that 1.5 million Americans are currently living with the disease and African-American women are three times more likely than Caucasian women to get it.
"I was scared. I didn't know what Lupus was and I didn't have any friends or family around so I didn't know what to do." For weeks Tonneta endured treatments alone and though weak in body she managed to drive herself to and from appointments. "It was hard but I had to let someone in. My family wasn't nearby so I had to rely on my church family", she said.
It was at her church and a local support group that Tonneta was able to gain strength. "I had began researching new hobbies I could engage in once I found out I had Lupus. I loved dancing but realistically I knew I would never be able to dance again," she said as she reflected on the days of her initial diagnosis. Tonneta tried several hobbies but nothing fueled her like dancing. "One day I realized I had Lupus but Lupus did not have me and I started dancing again. It didn't happen overnight but it did happen and I am so thankful it did."
Today this dancing butterfly has not only spread her wings in dance but now she serves as the dance leader at her local church where she trains young and seasoned women the technique of dance. As you watch Tonneta effortlessly move across the stage it is a remarkable reminder to us all that nothing is impossible through God. " I haven't had a flare up in years and i hear stories of horrible Lupus cases in my support group and all I can say is only God could do this and what a good God he is."