When Selena Gomez revealed on Instagram this week that she'd undergone a kidney transplant to help her in her battle against lupus, it was only the most recent in a long line of revelations that saw the singer and actress break down stigmas and be painfully honest about her health.
"So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health," she wrote in a caption accompanying a photo of her and her friend Francia Raisa, who, incredibly, donated her kidney to the star.
I'm very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn't promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren't words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith
Since revealing that she'd been diagnosed with lupus to Billboard magazine in October 2015 — partially to address rumours that she'd gone to rehab for substance abuse, instead of the chemotherapy that had actually taken place — Gomez has seemingly been as candid as possible with regards to the very real effects of the autoimmune disease.
When she cut her "Revival" tour short at the end of summer 2016, she told People that the mental health challenges surrounding lupus were as difficult as the physical ones.
"I've discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges," she told the publication.
Now, with the news of her kidney transplant, Gomez is making herself vulnerable once again, revealing the incredible toll lupus has taken on her body.
Up to 60 per cent of people with systemic lupus erythematosus (the type of lupus that Gomez has) will be affected by kidney disease, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and of those people, 10 to 30 per cent will reach the stage that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.
And while Gomez may be smiling and apparently back on her feet now, the long-term effects of such an operation are very real, requiring constant diligence to make sure the kidney remains as strong as possible, and no further complications arise, such as diabetes or heart disease, notes the National Kidney Foundation.
Gomez, who is currently working on a yet-untitled Woody Allen movie and is rumoured to be living with her boyfriend, The Weeknd (who she calls "more of a best friend than anything else") in New York, has plenty to look forward to. But it seems like she's well aware that she can't do it all.
"We girls, we're taught to be almost too resilient, to be strong and sexy and cool and laid-back; the girl who's down," she told Vogue earlier this year. "We also need to feel allowed to fall apart."
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