OKC resident got physical after lupus diagnosis
It wasn’t a shock to Stephen Davis when he first received the news more than two years ago that he had lupus.
Many years ago, his mother was diagnosed systemic lupus. At the time, her doctor told her that if she did not change her sedentary lifestyle, she could end up in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
Davis’ mother not only heeded her doctor’s advice but so did he.
“As soon the doctor told me (that I had lupus), I swore that I would never have a physician tell me that I could end up in a wheelchair over something that I had the least bit control over,” Davis said.
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal healthy tissue. Symptoms can include inflammation, swelling and damage to joints and even to major organs in severe cases.
A common symptom of lupus is arthritis, which is why the 38-year-old Davis now exercises five or six times a week.
“Before my diagnosis, I didn’t exercise a whole lot,” said Davis, who works for Amazon in the company’s human resources department. “Pretty much my time off from work was sitting at the house and watching Netflix, things like that. I didn’t put a big emphasis on eating healthy or having a physical lifestyle of any sort.”
Soon after the diagnosis, the Oklahoma City resident joined a gym.
“With any type of degenerative disease, staying active and mobile helps keep the lubrication in your joints and things like that so it helps keep the symptoms of arthritis at a minimum,” Davis said.
When his lupus flares up, Davis’ energy levels drop and exercising helps.
“Working out throughout the day just helps me feel better, I have a little bit of extra energy. It gets all the endorphins going. Some days, that’s all I need to get through the day, that and caffeine.”
Other days, Davis is taking a lot of Ibuprofen and anti-inflammatory medication to deal with the join pain caused by lupus. He also has a sun allergy causing his skin to break out, which is how he discovered he had lupus.
“I was just kind of hanging out at my pool one day and started breaking out almost into hives,” he said. “A week later, it still hadn’t cleared up so I actually went to a dermatologist and got tested.”
Because Davis limits his time in the sun, most of his cardio-work is done on a treadmill. But he is going to run the 5K in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on Sunday.
“I think it is good way to keep up with my fitness goals and honor the people that we lost and the heroes that rose out of that situation,” he said.
OKLAHOMA CITY MEMORIAL MARATHON
When: 6:30 a.m., Sunday
Where: Downtown Oklahoma City
Weather: 20 percent chance of isolated showers, high of 74.