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My Superhero – Nonfiction by India Akua Mendonça

In honor of Lupus Awareness Month


My superhero is not a fictional character in a comic book that walks through walls or has the power to read minds; my superhero is non-fictional, real-life person that has impacted my life for good. I am alive today because of my superhero! My rheumatologist, Dr. Neuwelt, is my superhero. If I could change places with a superhero for a day, I would change places with Dr. Neuwelt because he saved my life.

I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). I was first diagnosed with this disease in 2010 by my primary doctor at the time. I ignored my first diagnosis of SLE because I was not fully ready to embrace my disease. In 2013, I met Dr. Neuwelt when my lupus became sick enough for me to be hospitalized. When I was hospitalized, he helped me cope with the physical symptoms I was experiencing due to the disease and helped me find a lupus treatment plan that was right for me.

Dr. Neuwelt is dedicated to his patients, which is why I would gladly change places with him for a day. Selflessness is an essential attribute for a superhero, and Dr. Neuwelt is selfless with his patients and with me. When I have a flare-up, all I must do is call or message Dr. Neuwelt, and he is there to help me with my pain. This is the kind of superhero that I can model myself after and who I would change places with for a day.

India Akua Mendonça

India Akua Mendonça is a stay-at-home mother who loves reading, exploring new places, going to the beach, going to restaurants, and listening to bossa nova music. She received her A.A. in Liberal Arts from Chabot Community College and her B.A. in Black Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. Before becoming a wife and mother, India worked at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University as a Document Specialist. She and her husband purchased a home in Lake County in 2012 and in 2017 married each other in the living room of their lovely home. She is currently a homeschool teacher to her five-year-old daughter, and she enjoys every minute she spends witnessing and cultivating her daughter’s education. India feels fortunate to have the option and the opportunity to teach her daughter how to read. She lives with her husband, Marco, their daughter, and their three birds in Clearlake Oaks, CA.

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