Burton Family - Lupus: A Wah Dat

For: Burton Family: Chris, Brianna, Coltrane and Garvey
New York
Organizer: Charisma Ross
Burton Family - Lupus: A Wah Dat (Burton Family: Chris, Brianna, Coltrane and Garvey)
$28,598
of $35,000 goal
81% Complete
Raised by 281 donors

The Story

In 2012, Chris was diagnosed with lupus. Over the past 5 years, he has been in and out of the hospital receiving treatment for this disease. During this time, lupus has attacked his kidneys, lungs (blood clots) and skin. In spite of all the pain, doctor visits, and medication, Chris has not allowed this disease to define him. 

Chris attended Davidson College, graduating in 2008. While at Davidson, Chris was involved in many campus activities. He was President of the Student Government Association and an active member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Upon graduation from Davidson, Chris dedicated his time, talent and resources to teaching, education and social justice in urban communities. Most recently, Chris has been a high school Special Education/English teacher in Brooklyn NY. Chris loves teaching, but his doctor has placed him on medical leave until June 2018 while he recovers from his most recent lupus flare up. Chris has had three hospital stays since October 9th, 2017 to treat recurrent pneumonia, surgery, and fight a number of infections due to his immuno-compromised state. Chris is still in the hospital receiving treatment for lupus-related kidney disease. This flare up has been his most severe since his initial diagnosis. 

Illnesses of this magnitude can put a financial and emotional strain on a family. This disease attacks healthy organs resulting in concurrent diagnoses that need care at the same time time. Funds raised will go to out-of-pocket medical costs and other expenses needed to help support a family of four (food, housing, gas/car maintenance, childcare) while Chris is on medical leave. Let us come together to bless and encourage the Burton family. #Burtonsbeatlupus

Chris and his wife Brianna (Davidson College Class of 2011) live in Brooklyn, NY with their two sons (Coltrane, 2 and Garvey, 1). 

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on May 16, 2018

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Posted on May 16, 2018

Had the chance, earlier in the month, to visit Charlotte for my friends’ wedding. I hadn’t been there in a few years, since Coltrane was in the womb. Bri and I lived there until 2012 and previously whenever we would visit, we felt the weight of regret. We’d think about the house we wanted to buy, the lives we sought to lead, the friends and communities we were leaving behind. 

It would especially burn whenever we visited Trinity. Trinity Episcopal School is unlike any other place. Even on this trip, as we greeted friends, walked around campus, and worshipped during community chapel, we left with the hope that we’d find a school like Trinity for our boys in Brooklyn.  

Charlotte is a lovely city. At one time we thought we’d spend the rest of our lives there. We wouldn’t be upset if God led us back there later in life. I was thankful to revisit a chapter in our lives that is highly significant without feeling the burden of unfinished business.  

It was the first road trip Bri and I have taken since the last flare-up. Life altering events give you a chance to see the impossible in the ordinary. Sitting in the car for more than an hour would’ve made me anxious in January yet we were able to retrace our old haunts on the highway, including the Natural Bridge in Virginia. Truly, in all things, give thanks.  

Times feel much simpler now. I’m only a couple of weeks away from returning to work. I have an endoscopy tomorrow (following that bloody vomit episode from April). Cannot thank you enough for your love, support and endeavoring to understand. May you, in your time of need, have a community that reflects what my community has been for me.

With love,
Chris


Posted on April 18, 2018

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Posted on April 18, 2018

It is hard to believe that I have six and a half weeks until I return to work. There’s a mix of excitement, fear, and “today has enough trouble of its own”  coursing through me. Some days I feel bursting at the seams, ready to get back to normal (though there is no such thing) and other days I feel like I have no sauce at all. I had a setback two weeks ago on a Friday night. I felt ill most of the day and had no appetite. Foolishly, I took my medicine without eating dinner. Around midnight I went to the bathroom and vomited a sea of blood.

I told Bri and we made our way to the hospital (not before vomiting for the second time in an hour). As we walked into the emergency room I began to feel chills and body aches. It scared me because it was the most ill I’d felt since the fall. We sat in the waiting room and I felt my confidence about life and chasing normal, fade. The hospital kept me overnight for observation. Thankfully I did not vomit anymore. 

They discharged me with orders to follow up with my primary doctor and my vitals were good. I was happy to be sent home but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that being back in the hospital shook my confidence. I told Bri that I couldn’t think of five straight days where I didn’t feel ill or fatigued or just not right. So, as I used to do when I wanted a fresh start, I got a haircut.

During the flare-up in the fall, I stopped shaving my head because among everything else, my scalp felt very damaged. I could see scarring on my face during the flare-up and assumed the same was happening under my beard and hair. My hair grew to a point with very different texture than normal but my beard was wild and untamed. I thought about letting it grow until June but then it started to annoy me. I brought it up to my rheumatologist in March and he did not see the danger in cutting my hair so I was happy to shave again. My shaved head and cropped goatee revealed my autumn scars but I am kind of glad to have them. Lupus can be such an invisible disease and the scars help remind me that I am not making this up. They remind you of what you’ve been through. Scars can be beautiful.


Posted on March 22, 2018

Posted on March 22, 2018

Most of life is waiting anyway right? 

Scripture tells us to "Wait on the Lord and be of good courage," (Psalm 27:14). It makes sense to couple patience with courage because waiting can really weather you. One of the things about illness that I actually appreciate is that it eliminates the façade of control. Things aren't completely out of your hands, just mostly. I have found myself answering "How are you?" with "I'm okay," a lot more than is probably polite. This recovery is like a dance, two steps forward and then one step back. 

I had my second round of Benlysta last week. Next week is my last round before we move to monthly doses. The treatment hasn't worn me out as much as I anticipated. The first infusion had me in the bathroom all weekend, the second just made me sleep a lot. 

My coumadin appointments are getting spaced out also. Initially, I had to see the doctor every week as we figured out the right dose of warfarin. This was tricky because other medicines were being reduced or introduced so the INR number (how they measure your blood's ability to clot) would be all over the place. Since it has been the same for three appointments in a row, they are able to put a little space in between my appointments. 

Next week I meet with my Cardiologist and GI doctor. Rheumatologist told me I'm healthy enough to cut my hair so I think I might finally shave haha. 

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