Battling Lupus

When Liquor and Lupus Meet at a Party by Shanelle Gabriel

Originally posted on my blog on www.lupusnewstoday.com

“Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots!” The chant is repeated by my squad of friends at the bar. It’s my friend’s birthday and celebrations go hand in hand with alcohol. For many, it’s not a good birthday if you can walk a straight line at the end of the night. The definition of “turning up” is clinking plastic flute glasses around an overpriced bottle of rapper-endorsed liquor, dancing at whatever beat or pace the mixed drinks tell you to, and doing things that you will laugh about the next day over a post-hangover brunch. This was me in my 20s. Not anymore.

Unlike most people, I really started drinking after college. While partygoers sipped amaretto sours, I was usually too busy dancing and sweating profusely on the packed dance floor to think about fighting to get a bartender’s attention. Besides, water was free and I was a broke college student. When I graduated, I became an “adult,” which meant it was adult-like to go for a drink or two with co-workers, pair a glass of merlot with your steak, and pose with a glass of bubbly at your Pinterest-worthy picnic. The message is: “You’re grown; grown people drink.”

However, I learned early that alcohol puts my body in a climate ready and ripe for a lupus flare. It leaves me dehydrated and fatigued, and it makes some of my medications not work as effectively. My liver is already processing prescribed drugs; I’m somewhat paranoid about making it work any harder. So, where does alcohol fit in a Lupie world of medications and the need for ample hydration and rest? Do I have to turn down everything people do to turn up?

Telling someone you don’t drink is usually followed with, “Are you on antibiotics?” “What, you prefer whiskey? I have some here.” Or even a gasp and, “OMG, are you pregnant?” Telling a group of people you want to pass on a glass is equal to telling someone bragging about their amazing wedding that you just got left at the altar; it makes them feel self-conscious or judged for enjoying their day. People bond over liquor, and now it’s like you don’t want to bond with them.

I used to feel like I had to drink to make people feel comfortable, to be a part of my environment. I still feel that way at times. But at the end of the day, I really don’t need to drink to have fun as long as the music is good and my friends are present. My true friends won’t mind if I choose to drink in moderation and will gladly pour me a shot of ginger ale if it means I’ll be OK the next morning. Somehow, people think the drink makes the party, but it’s the people around me who make the celebration happen. I can have a fun time just being high on life knowing it’s a gift to not be in a hospital bed. Still want to sip a little somethin’ somethin’? Red wine has antioxidants, so that might be a healthier alternative (no more than a glass or two). Most studies, like “Alcohol and Arthritis” by the Arthritis Foundation, suggest that drinking in moderation on occasion isn’t terrible and that you ask your doctor if the general health rule of one drink a day for women, two for men, is the right one to follow.

The questions on why you aren’t drinking can be annoying, though. I have a fun trick that I use: I ask the bartender for a glass of pineapple juice mixed with cranberry juice, make sure they include a garnish, and sip it slowly. Most people assume there’s vodka in there and, boom, no questions. Cheers!

Blog: "Should" doesn't exist by Shanelle Gabriel

I had a 1/3-life crisis (i.e. Right before I turned 30) after a few people close to me made me feel like I was SUPPOSED to have certain things off of my checklist for life. I was made to feel like something was wrong with me for not even having a checklist. How could I not be married with kids? When was I going to have the perfect job, the perfect amenities with the perfect life? When would I have all the things that would make me content? Ahhhhh!! There's the problem. Contentment doesn't come from checklists. It comes from within. Life, for better or for worse, exists without "shoulds." It's unpredictable like someone stealing your wallet on the train. It's also as unpredictable as the random friend who shows up, treats you to lunch and makes a horrible day a good one. Our focus on what we should have takes away from the things we do have. Throwing out my checklist helps me build on the now, enjoy present moments, and keeps me focused on the all the opportunities in front of me. "Should" doesn't exist. "Reality" does. Our goal is to make the best, improve on, and find the things that help us enjoy our reality. #quotes #wordsofwisdom #faith

FullSizeRender.jpg

Lupie Update: New self-injectable version of Lupus Drug now approved!! by Shanelle Gabriel

Omg!!!! Yes!!! I actually did the clinical trial of this version of belimumab and it helped me. Super excited to finally hear that it's been approved! 💜👏🙌🏽 #lupus #lupie #lupuswarrior #lupusawareness #lupiechick #health

http://www.gsk.com/en-gb/media/press-releases/gsk-receives-fda-approval-for-a-new-self-injectable-formulation-of-benlysta-belimumab-for-systemic-lupus-erythematosus/

FullSizeRender.jpg

A Poem for World Lupus Day (May 10th) by Shanelle Gabriel

You think you own me/ squeezed my life in your palms/ taken over my body/ you think you are me/ Lupus/ you think because you've hijacked this vessel that you're captain/ you think you can get away with mutiny/ but see/ I'm still the same me/ the same beautiful butterfly floating on the breeze/ I ain't scared to wrestle the wind/ to battle raynauds thorns/

not afraid to diss this disease/ to find peace/ be at ease with this disease/ I miss my old life but I'm fashioning a new one with this disease/ in no way am I saying this is eas/y/

The way my cells fight themselves/ that my chest being in a cage of pleurisy/ that my scalp crying strands of my hair/ that the pain in my knees which interfere with my prayers/ makes it hard to sometimes find the joy in life/ makes the sun less bright/ but I know no matter what there's nothing that'll take away my fight/ When it seems to make my day feel like night/ I'll still reach for a star / when it seems my world spins left/ I've resolved to force it to revolve right/ and even if my limbs refuse to move/ my spirit will still dance/ Every day I'm going to choose to enhance this universe with my presence in any way I can/ Lupus is not me/ but it's the spark that created a flame/ my disease is not me/ but it's the source of my vanity/ lupus you can't damage me/ cause my body isn't all I possess/ I still have a purpose/ a reason to smile/ I'm still living my life with no regrets.

IMG_2189.JPG

Join the Twitter #LupusChat on Sunday, Nov 13 @ 3pm EST by Shanelle Gabriel

Join me and the official host Tiffany Peterson (@Tiffanyandlupus) for a #LupusChat on Sunday, November 13, from 3:00-4:00 PM ET on Twitter.  GSK is pleased to sponsor and participate in the #LupusChat, which will focus on tools and tips lupus patients can use now to improve the patient/physician dialogue. Details are posted @Lupus_Chat and @GSKUS. Feel free to share!

Help for Lupies: What Do Your Lab Tests Mean? by Shanelle Gabriel

Being that I firmly believe in patients taking an active role in understanding and managing their illness, I did a google search and thanks to www.cure4lupus.org, I was able to find a detailed explaination of the standard Lupus bloodwork and lab test abbreviations and values. Hope this helps!
Read More

Blog: Neglecting Lupus- The Brat You Never Asked For by Shanelle Gabriel

There are times when I neglect my lupus so much that someone could call ACS on me. Lupus is a part of, and like a baby, I should nurture my health. But I go through these seasons where I pretend lupus isn't a part of me. I mean, I never asked for this cranky child that changes lives, expects me to plan around it, makes me go to bed early, stay up late, cancel dates, stop drinking, sit still, and pacify it with meds. I'm expected to keep my lupus close to my chest because at any point in time, it can wake and it will scream into my joints and bones.

I think anyone with a chronic illness has seasons where they want to pretend it doesn't exist. We watch our friends giggle and chat during a day at the mall, not wanting to be the one to say that your body is ready to go. We let the adrenaline take over as we ignore the late hour, keep dancing, and pretend that, coupled with the dehydration from your friend's birthday shots, we won't feel it the next day...and probably for the next two days. We forget pill boxes on the counter, reschedule doctor appointments when they conflict with work, and miss infusions. We wish our Lupus fog would help us forget we have Lupus instead of forgetting where we put our keys. This brat of a disease sometimes quiets down. But as with real children, quiet can feel like it's getting into something and trouble is a'coming.

Lupus is so unpredictable. But honestly, sometimes it isn't. We know our triggers and what we should do to keep it from acting up and showing out. But it seems easier to try to live life like the young parent whose mom is always down to babysit. Drop lupus off and keep the party (or just the regular life) going. Sadly, it doesn't work that way.

Our stints of disconnecting our lives from our illness, as if the two can't work hand in hand, can put us at risk for severe flares and hospitalizations. Sure, we can have a couple long nights and fun days. But pretending Lupus doesn't exist can cause it to bawl at your joints, keep you up at night, leave you drained during the day, and throw a tantrum so terrible, you'll only desire to be in fetal position for weeks.

I understand wanting to hold on to the life you had when you were single and not paired with a chronic illness. But learning how to have it, grow with it, hate it but still live with it will only benefit me in the long run. Neglecting lupus meant I was neglecting myself. It took a lot to be able to remember that Lupus is something that forces me to listen to my body's cries and nurture my body (something we all need to do with or without an illness). I don't feel guilty for needing to take breaks, power naps, and saying no. I realized the parties I missed were the same as the last ones, and being sober made everyone seem even more hilarious. Even though this brat called Lupus continuously tries to mess up my good time, I still truly believe I can still have a life filled with joy if I just paid it a little attention.
-Shanelle Gabriel

NaPoMo Day 6: Lupus by Shanelle Gabriel

You think you own me/ squeezed my life in your palms/ taken over my body/ you think you are me/ Lupus/ you think because you've hijacked this vessel that you're captain/ you think you can get away with mutiny/ but see/ I'm still the same me/ the same beautiful butterfly floating on the breeze/ I ain't scared to wrestle the wind/ to battle raynauds thorns/ not afraid to diss this disease/ to find peace/ be at ease with this disease/ I miss my old life but I'm fashioning a new one with this disease/ in no way am I saying this is eas/y/
The way my cells fight themselves/ that my chest being in a cage of pleurisy/ that my scalp crying strands of my hair/ that the pain in my knees which interfere with my prayers/ makes it hard to sometimes find the joy in life/ makes the sun less bright/ but I know no matter what there's nothing that'll take away my fight/ When it seems to make my day feel like night/ I'll still reach for a star / when it seems my world spins left/ I've resolved to force it to revolve right/ and even if my limbs refuse to move/ my spirit will still dance/ Every day I'm going to choose to enhance this universe with my presence in any way I can/ Lupus is not me/ but it's the spark that created a flame/ my disease is not me/ but it's the source of my vanity/ lupus you can't damage me/ cause my body isn't all I possess/ I still have a purpose/ a reason to smile/ I'm still living my life with no regrets.

Lupus Blog: Benlysta Blues by Shanelle Gabriel

Once a month, I get up when the sun comes up, put on some leggings and a hoodie, and head to SUNY Downstate for my monthly infusion of Benlysta. This process literally takes my entire day, from 8:30-3pm. Come follow me, follow me, follow me down the path to getting the only medication created to treat Lupus.

7:30am:
The only reason I can get out of bed is the promise of sleep during the long process at the hospital. On days I have been allowed to flex my hours and get to go to work late, it's a nice rest. So, I throw something comfy and quick on and take the train there (parking sucks in the area).

8:30am:
I arrive at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and get on the line for outpatient registration. Low and behold, the woman who totally ignores my good mornings and checks me in is absent, leaving the older, less speedy man to register everyone by himself. The struggle is real. This process has taken anywhere from 10-45 minutes, just to have them put the bill in the system and print me a paper. I say thank you and head to the 6th floor.

9:00am-
I get to walk through the Cancer ward of the hospital to the chemotherapy unit. "Wait, I thought you had Lupus?" Yep, I do but the same guy that mixes the IV infusions of chemo and dialysis treatments mixes the Benlysta for my IV treatment. It's a big room where everyone sits in a wide circle with their own sea-green leather recliner and loud ass personal TV so they can watch Maury or Divorce Court during their stay. Personally, it's not fun being surrounded by cancer patients since my mom passed away from cancer a few years ago and chemo did nothing for her. But a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do. I get my vitals taken and blood drawn to make sure I'm healthy enough to get a treatment that suppresses my overactive immune system. Ohh and they serve free breakfast. Yay. (I wish there was an emoji that indicated my extreme sarcasm). I'm greedy so I eat it anyways.

10:30am-
Yes, two hours later, the results from my tests come back. My Rheumatologist has to check the labs and evaluate them. If the results suck (meaning if there's a risk of infection from a low White blood cell count or something like that), then I get my meds raised, sent home, and told to come back in a week. If all is decent, the order is made for the guy in the basement to get his double-double-toil-and-trouble on and mix a bag of Benlysta. The nurse starts me on a drop of fluids for a bit until it's ready.

11:30am-
I have no clue what the Macbeth witch is doing but it takes him forever to mix & bring up the Benlysta. So in the meantime, I get my IV of Benadryl which prevents me from having any sort of allergic reaction...and knocks me out like Fight Night. Here is where I catch up on any missing hours of sleep and not even the man screaming his excitement for not being some child's father on my neighbor's loud personal TV can wake me. I do wake for lunch which I usually request to be the Tuna sandwich and salad, and give away the soda it comes with. (I never understood hospitals that serve soda and fatty food to its patients. I guess that's how they stay in business.)

12:15pm-
Finally, the bag of Benlysta makes its way to the IV line on the top of my hand. Still groggy from the Benadryl, I head back to sleep between answering work emails and the occasional phone call. This is the best part of the process: finally getting it and sleeping.

Almost 2pm-

Beep! Beep! The IV machine signals that I'm done. I get some more fluids to flush my veins, and the nurse removes my IV. Since I'm on blood thinners, it takes a sec to get the blood to stop flowing. Once it's safe, the lil bandaid goes on it, completing my time in the Chemo Ward. I get asked to schedule the next one exactly 4 weeks away by day, not by date. It can be difficult making this decision without consulting my job but I've been getting better at it.

Overall, I'm still on prednisone so I don't know how effective Benlysta is. My doctor swears it's doing something. I don't know... But it's a part of my world, Take care if it ends up being in yours.

New Blog Post: "Pills and Potions: When everyone knows the cure" by Shanelle Gabriel

The walls were a pale beige color, kind of a "mother of pearl" shade. No windows; just one door that remained wide open with a billion footsteps shuffling back and forth. This was my umpteenth time in the ER for complications with my autoimmune illness. My nurse was from the Carribbean (like many in this hospital in Flatbush, Brooklyn), and he had a thick Jamacian accent. He comes in to do a vitals check and then asks if I'm chronically sick. I tell him I have Lupus. I usually expect that to be followed with eyes that say "I feel so sorry for you. Shame. So young..." Instead he perks up. "Oh me kno' jus' de ting. See, me cousin sell dis drink a called Noni juice. It a purify ya blood an get ridda alla dat sickness inna' ya blood." I thank him but kind of wave him off. Before I leave the hospital after my overnight stay, this nurse hunts my room down and gives me a complimentary bottle of this liquid Noni cure. 

A few weeks ago, I was hanging with my friend JB and his friend. We got to talking over a bad Boston Market meal, and me having Lupus came up. The friend says, "What if I told you you could heal yourself?" I wonder where this conversation is going and what type of lifestyle change he's about to try to sell me on. He starts speaking about alkalinity and the body needing to be less acidic. I let him talk although I've heard this cure before. Later, he brings up leafy veggies and I say that I can't have too much vitamin K because of the blood thinners I'm on that prevent me from having, oh let's say, a STROKE, since I had a pulmonary embolism a few months ago. His only response: "Well stop taking them. You won't need them after a while, anyways." Everyone has the cure. 

I don't know a person with a chronic illness that hasn't gotten fed up with the constant stream of prescriptions doctors swear by that, due to side effects and blanket treatments, only seem to lead to a sea of pills. And when many of us have gotten fed up, all these "natural cures" on the Internet and in the media seem to be a better option. So we push away the prednisone and start juicing. We do cleanses and special diets. And our doctors freak the freak out. 

See, I don't blame medical doctors for pushing prescriptions. Many of them were not required to take a course on nutrition or the healing power of foods. They are so technically and chemically trained that they cannot fathom something helping without knowing how. They need a carbon + oxygen+phospholipid trail to make it make sense. They can't state "I have no clue why, but it works." And because they don't know how it works, many of them don't prescribe it. So we're left to figure it out on our own, for better or worse. 

Don't get me wrong, I believe in the power of Eastern Medicine. However, I know that when that fails me, I'm running right back to a Western doctor faster than a veteran nurse can put in an IV. I have done the extreme switch from pills to potions... And gotten even more sick (and broke) than when I started. I believe good health comes from a healthy blend of the two, a balance of preventative and restorative medicine. I take plaquenil to improve my condition and Dandelion root tea to clean my liver. I eat a whole foods diet, and I exercise and take yoga to de-stress, promote circulation, and improve joint function. But, I'm not afraid to get a steroid injection if need be. Any changes I decide to make to my diet or pill regiment, whether my doctor likes it or not, I let her know so that if anything goes really wrong, she knows where the source may lie. And to all of the people with their magical healing concoctions, medical conspiracy theories, and tales of people curing themselves of cancer then walking on water, I tell them to email me sources (not just from the website selling the product swearing Dr So-and-so cosigns this therapy) and say thank you. I don't allow people to make feel guilty for trusting a medical professional over an anointing from a pastor because I believe God gave mankind wisdom to come up with treatments for various illnesses. Yes, I know capitalism and greed very well might be the reason we see more treatments and less cures today. But just as each body, person, lifestyle, illness is special, you have a right to mix your own cocktail of pills and potions to suit your own special pallet. 

See me rock and strut my stuff @ "Runway for a Cause" - Baltimore, MD by Shanelle Gabriel

 

Come see me sing and strut my stuff on the runway at the "Runway for a Cause" Benefit Fashion Show for Lupus THIS SUNDAY, August 24th from 3-7pm @ The Gala Center in Baltimore, MD. Also featuring Vanessa Rae Bent, DJ Tweety, gift bags by Sephora, a light buffet and more!
Tickets can be purchased at the door or here:http://oterialstylz.ticketleap.com/runway-for-a-cause/

 

 

 

Come Party for A Cause on June 10th in NYC by Shanelle Gabriel

Join Us June 10th for the 2014 Night for the Fight!

Featuring sponsored open bar, hors d'oeuvres, luxury raffle and live auction.

Night for the Fight

Hosted by Shanelle Gabriel

With Special Guest Ashlee White

Founder of Styletto Life and Cast Member of BravoTV's LI Princesses

DJ set by DJ Click'N'Press

#NightForTheFight

Purchase Tickets

Date
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
7PM – 10 PM

Location
Hudson Terrace

621 W. 46th Street (between 11th and 12th Avenues)
New York, NY 10036
Map

**Ticket price: $120

* Must be 21+ to participate

Purchase Tickets

Donate

If you cannot attend the event but would like to contribute,
donate to the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation.

Enter for chances to win exciting raffle and auction prizes
throughout the night.

Raffle and Auction Sponsors:

*As of May 20, 2014

SoulCycle, Kiehl's, Essie, Uber, Eventi Hotel, Finishline Physical Therapy, 5 Napkin Burger, Comedy Central, Estee Lauder, Nike Air, NYSC, NBC, Redken, and MORE!!

My Interview with HuffPost Live & Dr. Marc Lamont Hill by Shanelle Gabriel

I was blessed to be a guest on Dr. Marc Lamont Hill's show on HuffPost Live to discuss Lupus alongside

* Sarah Stothers (RN & Health Educator for the Lupus Foundation of America; National Nurse Health Educator)

* Imani Perry (Professor at the Princeton Center for African American Studies; Diagnosed With Lupus)

It was a great discussion with a lot of great points on the need for awareness and what the battle against Lupus looks like. Check it out!

 

Footage from the 2014 World Lupus Day Flash Mob by Shanelle Gabriel

Myself and the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation's Young Leaders took Lupus Research to the Power of 10 in recognition of World Lupus Awareness Day May 10. A Flash Mob of volunteer dancers brought attention to lupus among hundreds of visitors to Union Square Park in Manhattan. Here's the video!!

Help me as I run the 2014 NYC Half Marathon for Lupus! by Shanelle Gabriel

http://www.crowdrise.com/lupusnychalf2014/fundraiser/shanellegabriel

Help raise money for Lupus as I run 13.1 miles!!!

Sooo, I've been living with Lupus for almost 10 years... 10 years is a pretty long time to deal with joint pain, chest pain, achiness, lists of (toxic) medications, doctor & specialists, severe fatigue, anemia, abnormal blood tests, and more.

So I decided that this year, right before my 30th birthday, I'm going to combine my love for running with my love of helping people like me battle Lupus. I'm running in the 2014 NYC Half Marathon to benefit the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation with a goal of $1,500.

I'm on Team Life Without Lupus, which is the official competitive sports team of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and its West coast division Lupus LA, the nation’s leading organization providing comprehensive support services and research funding for the lupus community. 

Please donate to my page. $10, $20, $50, $100, any amount helps! 

http://www.crowdrise.com/lupusnychalf2014/fundraiser/shanellegabriel

$10 is:
- Like, two lattes at Starbucks
- A Big Mac Meal at McDonald's (if you still eat that)
- Okay, a burger and shake at Shake Shack
- ONE drink at a NYC bar

Can you donate a "drink" to Lupus?

 

Thank you so much for your support!

http://www.crowdrise.com/lupusnychalf2014/fundraiser/shanellegabriel

*We still have spots avaliable on our team. If you are interested in joining Team Life Without Lupus please apply at the following link --> http://www.lupusny.org/events/upcoming/2014/run-nyc-half-marathon-team-life-without-lupus

Life & Lupus: The Dreamkiller by Shanelle Gabriel

Someone once told me that living through your twenties is all about losing the fantasies of your teens. As you add more years to your life, it can feel like you're adding more reasons to be pessimistic. Being diagnosed with Lupus the year before I could drink legally meant I started losing those teen fantasies a little early. At nineteen, it seemed like I had a hundred mountains I wanted to climb, seven seas to swim, and a encyclopedia of a to-do-list I planned on attacking prior to dealing with this autoimmune disease. Reality has a way of settling in when it hurts to keep up in your college Hip-Hop dance team and when your mom suggests you take a semester off to "rest a bit." Granted, I wasn't about to sit in the house for the rest of 2005 so I went back to school, but the craziest thoughts cross your mind during silent painful walks from class to your dorm room. 

 

"Why am I even here? Am I fooling myself for having goals and plans for my life knowing my body will fight my mind for control every step of the way? Who am I if I can't accomplish these dreams I've had all my life?" 

 

I never shared these thoughts with anyone because I knew I'd get those Reading Rainbow responses: "You can be anything you want to be, if you just believe." (*Struggles not to throw up.*) We're adults now, and we know that we cannot fly two times higher than butterflies, especially with that butterfly rash on our faces. Many of us got our realities handed to us along with test results and had to grow up pretty early. 

 

It helps to realize that this painful end to optimism doesn't just hit those of us with chronic illnesses. As many of my friends are entering their late twenties and crossing the ("dun-dun-dun") thirties, they're asking themselves the same questions we are. I'm not the famous singer I thought I'd be when I was 16. I'm not the radio announcer/ A&R / wife & mother of 3/ homeowner / CEO of a non-profit that I swore I'd be when I was 22. My present life is nothing like I planned, and that is in part due to dealing with this illness and part in realizing that you can't put a timeline on certain things. 

 

Having Lupus with its unpredictable flares and remissions makes planning for life hard. Shoot, life makes planning for life hard. Depression can come from the way an illness and struggle can seem to kill dreams. I've learned one way to overcome it: FIND A NEW DREAM. I may not be the the mother and wife I planned on being at my age, but I'm consistently working towards my new goal of being an amazing aunt and an inspiration to my nieces and nephews. My friend Judith Mills may not be the track star she was on the path to be before her diagnosis but it lead her to become a biology teacher and founder of an organization working to provide Lupus medication to countries in Africa. Your illness may have stopped you from being a lead dancer at Alvin Ailey but maybe this will lead you to a new dream of running a non-profit that provides ballet shoes to under-funded arts programs. 

 

They say when there's a closed door, God opens a window. I know it isn't easy to step away from the door you've been walking to all your life, but that window may lead you to a grander purpose then the original path you were on. The same way you surprise yourself with your ability to deal with everything your illness throws your way, you'll be surprised at the skills you have that you didn't even know you possess. Aim to focus less on what you can't do and more on what you can. Find the hidden passions within you, and maybe your new dream can become a reality.

"Aim High" - the New Album Available Everywhere NOW! by Shanelle Gabriel

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Shanelle Gabriel's new album "Aim High" available NOW!

Shanelle Gabriel shows that "Lupus can't hold her" with the release of Aim High today, May 15th, 2013, right in the middle of Lupus Awareness Month. A true fusion of all of her talents, Aim High displays Shanelle's prowess as an award-winning poet and vocalist. A fusion of spoken word, soulful singing, and hip-hop that speaks on love, being diagnosed with Lupus, inequality, and seizing the day, Aim High strives to comfort and empower those battling life's daily challenges all while keeping heads bobbing. This album is available on iTunes, GooglePlay, and on her official website www.shanellegabriel.com.

 

NYC can get autographed copies of Aim High at Shanelle's album release party TONIGHT, May 15th at 6:30pm at Negril Village Lounge (70 West 3rd Street, NYC). At this release party, she will be performing two songs, and DJ Jon Quick (of WBLS 107.5 FM) and DJ Commish (of Music Choice) will be spinning several songs off the album as well the best in Hip Hop/ R&B/ Reggae/Soca. No cover and 21+ only with ID. 

Aim High features appearances by Kel Spencer (emcee and songwriter for Will Smith, Lil Kim, and more), rapper Livewire (who's latest single features Jim Jones), ATL's Willie Hyn, Christian femme-cee HeesunLee, and beatboxer GreyMatter. It also features a comedic cameo from SpokenReasons, the YouTube star and lead actor in Sandra Bullock's new movie "The Heat."

All poems and songs were written by Shanelle Gabriel with production from Chris "Theory" Bradley from Atlanta, the JahRock'n Productions team in NYC, Marshall "Soulful" Jones in LA, and the Bronx's own DJ Static. This album has many notable tracks including the percussion-driven, powerfully-sung "Damn Near" and the humorous, nostalgic crowd-favorite "Crushing Hard." She tells the inspiriting story of her diagnosis with Lupus in "Vanity," a poem that she's shared at numerous events and walks for Lupus. This album and the videos for it are set to receive coverage and press from several prominent websites, including Vibe.com, as well as airplay on numerous independent & college radio stations. 

Shanelle Gabriel has toured nationally and internationally, hitting cities from LA to Vancouver to Johannesburg, South Africa. She has shared stages with artists such as  Eric Benet, Talib Kweli, Nas, Erick Sermon, and more. She appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam alongside Jill Scott and DMX, was spotlighted on the Rachael Ray Show, Fox News, and KAYA 95.9 FM- Johannesburg, and was recognized for her work by Listerine and Wal-Mart in the "Your Mouth Matters" campaign. This follow-up to her first album Start Something (winner of the 2008 Atlantic City Alternative Soul Best CD Award) aims to propel Shanelle Gabriel to even greater heights in her career.   

ATLANTA, SAVE THE DATE!->  Shanelle's album release concert will be next THURSDAY, May 23rd at EPeriod's "S.M.A.R.T. Thursdays" at Acoustix Jazz Restaurant & Lounge (840 Marrietta St, Atlanta, GA) at 8:30pm.

Follow Shanelle Gabriel (@ShanelleG) on Twitter and use the hashtag #AimHigh on all your social networks!

-- 

WEBSITE: www.shanellegabriel.com

SOUNDCLOUD: soundcloud.com/shanellegabriel

TWITTER: twitter.com/ShanelleG

INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/ShanelleGabriel

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/FriendsofShanelleGabriel

 

May is Lupus Awareness Month... by Shanelle Gabriel

May is here, and it's Lupus Awareness Month! 

Between the "LupUS is US: Inspiring Words of Survival" Show in NYC on May 9th and World Lupus Day Flash Mob on May 10th, if you follow me this month, you'll be hearing me speak a lot more about Lupus (the illness I was diagnosed with in 2004 that affects more than 1.5 million Americans each year.)

Hear more about living with Lupus in my HooplaHa interview here: