AJ Johnson and Sister 2 Sister magazine helped save the life of high-powered executive Michelle Gadsden-Williams.
“I was secretly suffering in silence. I was secretly experiencing what I would describe as the flu that wouldn’t go away,” Michelle recently shared with the attendees of the Diversity Women’s Leadership Conference.
“I was experiencing severe swelling, muscle weakness, severe joint pain… headaches, unexplained fevers, memory loss, shortness of breath and thinning hair,” said Michelle, who admitted that she ignored the symptoms for two years before being diagnosed with lupus.
Unfortunately, simply identifying her condition didn’t improve Michelle’s health. The medication she was prescribed had side effects, including a 30-pound weight gain.
Things turned around for Michelle when she came across an article about AJ Johnson’s AJ Zone that was featured in an issue of Sister to Sister. That encouraged her to seek out the help of the actress-turned-health guru.
“On my way back from a business trip in Chicago, I stopped in a bookstore to purchase a magazine, and that magazine was called Sister 2 Sister,” Michelle said. “In it contained a feature of a celebrity wellness expert whose mission and vision was to help her clients reach their full potential by focusing on mind, body and spirit.”
Three years later, with the help of AJ, Michelle is symptom-free.
“I’m really starting to enjoy this new version of myself,” she said.
AJ, who has also worked with Beyoncé and her House Party co-star Tisha Campbell-Martin, said she believes that stress is the underlying cause of lupus.
“I personally believe, from my research… from my experience, that the individual cause is stress,” she said. “Most of the lupus I found is with women of color executives,” said AJ who encourages her patients to do a better job of balancing career and life.
“I believe that there’s definitely a balance that African-American women can have with life and with work,” she said. “The best thing we can do is to believe there’s a better [life]. I think the biggest thing is that women just don’t think it’s possible. There’s a way. We just have to figure out what that way is.”
AJ also talks about how to be healthy and still enjoy soul food. Watch.
—Tracy L. Scott