Faith & Finding a Way | A Doctor’s Journey Through Debilitating Illness | by Dr Manisha Rayavarapu | Inspiring Story #112

Faith & Finding a Way | A Doctor’s Journey Through Debilitating Illness | by Dr Manisha Rayavarapu | Inspiring Story #112

On the verge of succeeding as a Doctor, Manisha is diagnosed with a chronic illness.  In the face of insurmountable challenges, read how Manisha finds a way through and discovers a new way of healing others while healing herself.

Sitting in a dusty stairwell at the hospital, I stared in disbelief at the bloodwork reports in front of me. I could not interpret everything on those two pages.  From what I could comprehend, something was very, very wrong. I had been experiencing extreme fatigue, hair loss, and random joint pains off and on for a couple of years.  I assumed it was related to long, taxing workdays at the hospital. I attributed my symptoms to the stress of caring for sick patients, creating PowerPoint presentations, and studying for licensing board exams. I never suspected that an insidious disease was brewing within me. I never imagined I could have lupus, a chronic, debilitating illness with no cure.

Still, I knew I had to complete my residency program. I had put so much time, money, and energy into becoming a doctor; I couldn’t quit now. But how could I care for patients when I could barely care for myself? It was recommended that I take a medical leave of absence, but I knew if I took a break, I would never come back. I firmly pleaded my case to stay but the question of “How?” remained.

God had a plan for me. He provided a loving husband who is understanding and supportive of me. My then-boyfriend-now-husband moved in with me to help care for me, often sacrificing his own needs. There were nights when I could not walk to the bathroom myself, and days I could not even brush my hair. I did not have any family living nearby, and without his aid I do not believe I would have been able to stay and complete my residency program.

After working full time for two years, struggling to balance work and doctors’ appointments, I was ready to quit practicing medicine. Flare ups happened more frequently.  I landed in hospital every few months. The pain in my muscles and joints became so severe that I couldn’t walk.  Even the slightest rub of fabric against my skin would cause searing pain. I was burned out and literally sick and tired of being a doctor.

I had put so much time, money, and energy into becoming a doctor; I couldn’t quit now. 

Once again God provided a way for me to continue practicing medicine and serving my community. I was blessed with part-time jobs, a rarity in my profession. I had been praying for a teaching position when I was called by a recruiter about a temporary part-time job close to home. I worked three days a week, which left four days for errands, doctors’ appointments, and much needed rest. After my contract ended, I continued to negotiate other part-time positions. With a lightened load, I was able to flourish again and start loving the work I was doing.

My life changed once more after I became pregnant with my son. After being out of work during my high-risk pregnancy and months of postpartum complications, I was ready to go back to work, but the emergence of COVID had just begun. With a global pandemic, a young baby, and a compromised immune system, I made the decision to work from home. I started working for a telemedicine company, handling simple issues like coughs and colds, and guiding patients on the newest COVID protocols. I was helping people, but I missed having personal relationships with my patients. I no longer felt fulfilled in my work.

Again, a new door was opened for me. With being able to work from home, the prospect to live one of my dreams presented itself. I was finally able to publish my memoir and share my story of overcoming the challenges of living with lupus with others who were struggling. I have received opportunities for public speaking to raise awareness for lupus and other chronic illnesses. I have found a new way to heal others while healing my own soul. 

My journey with a chronic disease has been enlightening and humbling.

It has altered the way I practice medicine, making me a more empathetic and competent physician. It has taught me humility and that I need the help and support of those around me. It has deepened my faith in God to guide and provide for me. It has also revealed a resilient and courageous person within me that I never knew existed.

My illness has weakened me physically, but it has strengthened me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. My disease may have closed doors, but it has opened a world of opportunities I never imagined possible, and I am eager to see what the future holds.

My disease may have closed doors, but it has opened a world of opportunities I never imagined possible

Find out more about Dr Manisha Rayavarapu & 
Her Work as a Lupus Warrior and Advocate

Dr. Manisha Rayavarapu is a Family Medicine Physician, author, and lupus warrior and advocate. She was diagnosed with lupus in 2010 and shares her story to encourage others living with a chronic illness that they can lead successful, fulfilling lives.

She also advocates to raise awareness for lupus and to help those outside the chronic illness community to have a deeper understanding of life with a chronic illness. She shares her perspective of being both a patient and physician to help educate others and bridge the gap between patients and doctors.

Click here to Get Her Book:    Butterflies, Boards and Blessings, A Doctor's Journey Thriving with Lupus

Connect with Dr Manisha Rayavarapu


From Skipping School to PhD | A Village Boy’s Remarkable Journey

Inspirational story about an ordinary village boy from India, who grew up on a cashew farm. His parents were illiterate, he'd skip school, and there was little hope for his future ...

Until one day something unimaginable happened (almost a miracle), that changed his whole life around. He ended up with a PhD and his research on cashew farming and agriculture receives global recognition.

>> Click here to read

Share the Inspiration
  • These stories are happening all over the word, you really can fill a book with them. It is so sad that so many are struggling like this, while children here take things for granted.

  • Unfortunately, these stories are very sad or at least deal with such topics, but the strenght of their protagonist, as in this case, are an example of hope and beauty. Beauty of the soul.

  • Tren says:

    It’s so inspiring, thank you for sharing! It’s awesome your husband was able to support you in this journey. It’s extremely rare.

  • Evelyn Suarez says:

    The story of Doctor Manisha, reminds me of my many closed doors in life. When I was young I cannot handle those closed doors but now I realized that the meaning of closed doors,”it means realigning our circumstances towards our greatest strength towards our destiny, the purpose why we are in this world. We are uniquely gifted that only us can give contribute to the world. No matter how small big it is.

  • Kaybee Lives says:

    Such an amazing story! Thank you for sharing and inspiring those around you!

  • Such a powerful and inspiring story. God never abandons!

  • Viano says:

    It’s nice to know that your husband was supportive throughout. Not many people have that kind of patience. It’s also good to know that despite everything you aren’t turning your back on God rather you are trusting him through the process and are seeing the positive in the negative. My prayer for you is that you’ll be strengthened and be patient till the end.

  • Mu says:

    Such an inspirational testimony, thanks for sharing!

    Mufidah |

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