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Imagine being a superstar like Toni Braxton, loved by millions for your incredible voice and talent, but secretly battling a chronic illness. That’s been Braxton’s reality since her diagnosis with lupus—an autoimmune disease, in 2008 that is now threatening to derail her career.

Now, as she takes the stage for her Las Vegas residency, she opens up about her fears and anxieties. Let’s delve into her story and the impact of lupus on her life and career.

Toni Braxton living with lupus

In 2008, Toni Braxton was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic autoimmune disease. This tricky autoimmune illness comes with a lot of symptoms that can mess with different parts of the body. Right now, she’s performing in Las Vegas with Cedric the Entertainer for her Love & Laughter residency. This is her first set of shows since she had to have emergency heart surgery in 2022.

For Braxton, dealing with lupus is like walking a tightrope between doing what she loves and looking after her health. She knows she has to be careful and not push herself too hard.

Braxton dealing with anxiety

Braxton openly talks about feeling anxious when getting ready for her performances. During a chat with PEOPLE, Braxton said, “I’ve been feeling okay, that’s been the anxiety, just making sure I’m ready.” Even though her doctor gave her the green light for the shows, she still worries about having a lupus flare-up.

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“But the man upstairs said it’s going to be okay, so I know I’m going to be alright,” Braxton added. Yes, despite her fears, her faith helps her feel better. She thinks everything will be okay because she believes in a higher power watching over her and helping her through her tough times.

ALSO READ: 20 Toni Braxton Hairstyles: From 90s Hits to Timeless Glamour

What you need to know about Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation and pain throughout the body. It primarily affects women, particularly those between the ages of 15 and 45. Each type can bring its own set of symptoms, which can vary a lot from person to person.

Doctors aren’t totally sure what causes lupus, but they think it’s a mix of genetics and stuff in the environment. Interestingly, she came to know that her late mother also battled lupus. This unexpected connection has brought them closer.

Braxton faced medical gaslighting

She initially faced pressure to keep her illness hidden, especially in the spotlight of her career. In a recent podcast episode of SHE MD, Braxton opened up about her journey alongside rheumatologist, Dr. Daniel Wallace. “For the longest time, I was ashamed. I was told to hide that I had lupus,” recalls Braxton.

In fact, for the longest time, she was struggling to get the right treatment. Doctors brushed off her worries, making her feel nobody understood her. This made her feel anxious all the time like nobody cared about her health concerns. Sadly this happens to a lot of people with lupus. It’s called medical gaslighting, where doctors don’t take your symptoms seriously.

Braxton’s journey with lupus extends far beyond her own struggles. She uses her platform to advocate for awareness, urging others not to let the disease define them.

ALSO READ: Who is Toni Braxton’s ex-fiance Birdman? Exploring their relationship as the actress-singer shuts down rumors of marriage

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If so, please consider scheduling a proper virtual online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis with one of our physicians. Although we have an online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis tool, a proper diagnosis from a Board-Certified Medical Doctor will help you know for sure. If appropriate, a customized treatment program will be recommended at the conclusion of that initial visit.

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