Website Redesign and Oh I Have Lupus

Ever since I decided to switch from Architecture to Graphic Design, I’ve needed a website to reflect it. Figuring out the concept and then development has been in the works for months and the result is now online! My desire was to have a website that is bright, engaging, polished, and simple to navigate and update. The old website that I built was flash based, but this time I used only html and css. It was a challenge since I hadn’t utilized those skills in a while, but it’s so exciting to see a finished product. I can’t wait to delve deeper into coding. I of course would love to hear your feedback. Please tell me what you think of the new site.

Screenshot of my old website’s homepage

I very rarely write about my personal life here on this blog, but some things are too major not to mention. On October 19, 2012 I was officially diagnosed with lupus. For those of  you who don’t know, lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. Instead of protecting the body, the immune system gets confused and starts attacking healthy cells. At the moment there is no cure for lupus and no known cause.

The symptoms started small. About a year ago I began experiencing pain off and on in my knees, but I just figured it was a result of work or over-exercising. Over time the knee pain became constant. Then my fingers started swelling off and on. This made me think maybe arthritis, but I’m 25! I’ve never had a primary doctor. Usually a visit to a physician was to be treated for a sinus infection. Well I continued on without seeking help (big mistake). I had learned how to live with the constant pain, could still function (kind of, I really felt like I was 80), and I was secretly hoping that it all would go away. Then things got serious. My ankles started swelling and normal daily activity would cause these blood spots called petechiae to develop on my legs. I couldn’t ignore it anymore. It was time to get checked out.

This turned out to be a lengthy process (especially when you don’t have health insurance). Finding a doctor > getting an appointment > blood-work/tests > getting an appointment to discuss the test results/referring me to a specialist > getting an appointment with the specialist > seeing the specialist to confirm what’s wrong. My body was on a different timeline however. Symptoms got worse and when it was hard to even breathe, it was time to go to the emergency room. I didn’t quite make it to the seeing the specialist part. I was admitted into the hospital. I had to have two blood transfusions and test results revealed that the lupus had caused anemia and affected not only my joints, but my heart and kidneys as well.

Sounds devastating, but it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, this was serious, but I had a deep sense of calm. I was happy to finally have a diagnosis and I knew that God had been watching over me in spite of my ignorance. Things could have been much worse, like slip into a coma and die worse. The calm is also due to the support and prayers of wonderful family and friends. Words can’t express how thankful I am for the people in my life. I also had the best care in the hospital. The nurses and doctors were attentive, friendly, and made sure I understood what was going on. I may have lupus, but I’m blessed.

Life after the diagnosis: Right now my treatment consists of intravenous chemotherapy once a month and daily steroids. I’m feeling a lot better. The pain and swelling are gone, kidney function is improving, and I’m slowly getting my energy back. It’s a process. Sometimes I get so excited about being able to move freely that I over exert myself and then subsequently crash. I realize now that before treatment I would strategically plan how to move around the house because of the pain and effort it took. Due to the chemo and my body’s need to recover, I’ve been in a weird kind of isolation. My immune system is being suppressed to fight the lupus, which makes me vulnerable. It’s recommended to avoid large groups of people and of course individuals who are sick, so I mostly stay home. I’m hoping that this will last only for a couple months, but I’m determined to come out of this better than ever. When my body allows it, I’m going to keep learning and sharpening my skills to become a kick-butt designer! I also want to resume my weekly posting goal. I may be down for now but I’m not out.

For more information about lupus visit the Lupus Foundation of America

For those of you interested in the web design part of this post, here are some of the sites I used to create my website:
Codrops CSS3 Lightbox

Codrops Original Hover Effects with CSS3

Line25 Create a Stylish Contact Form with HTML5 and CSS3

Leave a comment


  1. I commend you for being able to find the positives and gather strength and poise in hard times. I wish I had been there to give more of my support but I am glad to see you get better and work through this difficult period. I get how it might have been such a relief to hear a diagnosis and even more to see your body start to respond to the treatment.
    You don’t deserve this my friend, but it’s often the good ones that suffer the injustices of life.

    I’m heading to your website now…love ya 🙂

  2. Wow… you kind of backed into finding out about your lupus the hard way, but thankfully you have a diagnosis early enough to get control of your lupus before getting irreversible organ damage. The LFA is the definative source of reliable lupus information. I recommend reading the lupus book for patients by Daniel Wallace, MD, a rheumatologist who practices in southern California and wrote one of the leading med school rheumatology text books. His book for patients is outstanding.

    Best wishes as you begin this lupus adventure! The view of your blessings vs. The challenges is a good start.


    • Thank you for your recommendation and thanks for the encouragement. I love your positive outlook as well (I read your about page), not to mention Singing in the Rain is one of my favorite movies. Sometimes it’s just better to dance rather than wallow in sorrow.

  1. 2013 Free Wallpaper & the Best of 2012 « Inside My Head

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