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Ashlee: "I Have Lupus"

Ashlee reveals her medical complications over the last few years.

By Ashlee White
I can’t believe Season 1 of Princesses is over. First and foremost, thank you to everyone who tuned in this summer. It was a one-of-a-kind journey, and I’m so grateful to all of you who have continued to watch, tweet, like, and follow the #Princesses. There’s so much more that that I wish you could have seen! Unfortunately 40 minutes is only enough time to get a small glimpse into our lives -- and all of the drama, friendships, highs, and lows that go along with it.

For me, last summer was a journey of struggles and strength. You didn’t get to see everything, so I want to fill in some of the gaps. I had my first stroke in 2011… and yes, it took a little more than Benadryl to get me back on my feet. It was without a doubt the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. I remember my entire right side going numb, not being able to speak, being rushed to the hospital, and doctors rushing around me. The recovery process was horrific. I continued to have trouble speaking. I lost my short-term memory. I was bedridden for eight months. At that point, I started to lose sight of who I was. My personality was withering away. I would look in the mirror and just start sobbing because a stranger was looking back at me. If it hadn’t been for my incredible family, I would not be where I am today. They literally pulled me through to the other side. When I was ready to give up, they told me that wasn’t an option. I know you got to see just how close I am to my parents and my sister this season. While we have always been a tight family, my health struggles increased our bond. I definitely depend on them more than I ever did before, and they are clearly extremely protective over me.

The show could not have come at a better time in my life! At the beginning of last summer, I was just starting to feel back to my old self. I was happy, wanting to be around people, and feeling so blessed. Ashlee was back! In doing the show, I was hoping for people to get to know the real me. I wanted to share a little bit about my story and inspire others. 
This is the message that I want to share with everybody: regardless of your favorites on the show or what you think of me, I want the people who feel like they have no strength to remember that it’s at your lowest points that you can learn to rise above. “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” –anonymous

After the show, I was on a fun girls' trip to Miami when I had my second stroke. I was at the FontaineBleau hotel laughing and lounging by the pool. This time, I knew what was happening and remember grabbing my friend. Everyone at the hotel sprung into action, and I was quickly rushed to the hospital. All I really remember from being admitted was waking up to my dad standing next to me. My parents were quick to tell me that Casey, Chanel, and Erica had all been calling to check in on me. I’m so fiercely loyal to those who have helped me through my sickest days. It’s why I am protective over my friends. Being back to square one was definitely a tough pill to swallow, but I recovered much quicker this time. Then, a couple months later, I was diagnosed with Lupus. 
All of this helps explain the past couple of years for those of you who don’t fully know me. I’m definitely a fighter, and I am so grateful for my family and the loyal friends who have helped me through everything. I’ve changed a lot since being sick. I hope you got to see how big my heart is. There is so much more that I have learned from my struggles that I wish you all got to see a little more of!

Wandering off at the winery that day was stupid. I didn’t have the foresight to ask the winery owners for help. It had been such a long and emotionally draining day for all of us. I wasn’t thinking clearly, and I put myself in a lot of danger. I will forever be grateful to Chanel and Casey for their friendship and sticking by me. I’ve said it all season because it is so important to me. They truly know what it means to be a friend. They stood by me in the middle of a lot of hateful drama and that means the world to me.

Chanel brought us all together at the end. That group hug at the end was real. No matter what happened, we will all share a special bond because of what we went through together last summer.  

I have learned so much from just one season of this show. I think all of the cast members will agree that having your life captured on camera really shines a light on some of your not-so-proud moments. I’m the type of person who never wants to make others feel inferior or bad about themselves. This show has taught me just how important it is to show people the side of me that my friends and family know. I want others to see my big heart in everything I do and say. Lastly, I continue to feel blessed. I always say that I’m a girl who has it all… and also knows how quickly everything becomes nothing when you lose your health. So, for now, I’m holding on to what’s important in my life.

For now, you can still follow me! I appreciate my fans more than you know and am so grateful for the opportunity to get to connect with you! Follow me @ashleewhite23 and LIKE my fan page.
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