LUNCH BREAK INTERVIEW SERIES: MAISON SANCHEZ, “MY BIGGEST STRUGGLE RIGHT NOW IS DEFINITELY MY BATTLE WITH MY AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE, AND WHAT THAT MEANS FOR MY FUTURE”

“I am Maison. Also known as Mais (Mase) or Mama Mais by close friends and my family has called me Mai or Mai Mai my whole life.”

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Maison is a wife and mother of two. She is a follower of Jesus and wears many hats!

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Maison is also a Registered Nurse. She’s done operating room nursing, emergency room nursing, and is currently the Lead/Coordinator of Neurosurgery!

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Additionally, Maison is a Rodan and Fields Consultant and has the lashes to prove it!

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She is also in youth ministry at her church, the Church of Incarnation, and loves being outdoors with her family!

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I have known Maison for several years now. Her daughter was one of my very first models for a headband business I had! I can’t believe how quickly that time passed.

She also helped to coordinate my wedding, I couldn’t have done it without her! I have a photo of her, doing the best job. Pointing her finger and everything! Lol.

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I have always admired Maison’s spunk and ability to keep pushing. She is definitely a (good) fighter in all that she does and many admire her for it.

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What led you to nursing?

Well I would love to say something fluffy and beautiful but honestly, high school Anatomy and Physiology. We had to skin a cat, I got extra credit because my group did it in one piece. I was fascinated in that class, and when my teacher told me I could go to college and work in the operating room as a surgical technologist off of a 2 year degree I was sold! But my dad wasn’t 😂 he said if you are going for 2 years you are going for 4 so what degree is that one going to be. Nursing made the most sense, and all of my classes transferred. I’m so glad my dad didn’t let me be so near sided at age 18 because I wouldn’t have the amazing experiences and wiser scope of practice I have today without my nursing degree.

What is your favorite thing about being a nurse?

Oh man, how do I chose!? I guess I can’t, there’s so much to nursing. I would have to say my favorite thing about nursing is fulfilling my calling. There’s no task, skill or learning experience that could fulfill my love for nursing. It’s fulfilling my calling to serve God’s people, that is my favorite.

What job have you enjoyed the most? What job has been the hardest?

My job as a Neurosurgery Coordinator has granted me the most opportunities I didn’t even realize were available in nursing. So that has been pleasantly surprising, and I love surprises. The Emergency room had to have been the hardest, yet also so rewarding in so many ways. I learned more than I ever thought imaginable in the 6 years I spent there.

 When did you realize that you loved to serve people? Do you ever have a hard time with it? And how do you balance it with your own self care? 

I don’t know what age I was when I realized I loved serving people. I just always have. I was hospitalized at 18 months and my mom tells me the story of me wondering down the hospital hall with her behind me pushing my IV pole and I would pop my head into a room, wave, and say “Hi!” then go to the next. Just to see each person smile. Then in kindergarten and through elementary school I was always helping and wanting to be with my friend Eric who has Downs Syndrome. Helping him with work, or behave, or just play. He was just my friend at the time but now as an adult I see how much I loved him and I wanted him to be liked and accepted by everyone so I did everything I could to help him. So I don’t know at what ages it clicked that my gift is service, I just always loved it.  I have had a hard time with serving people, not actually serving them but over doing in service. My mom explains it perfectly. There are two types in people, givers, and takers. I am a giver. I will give my all to anything or anyone I find worthy. But figuring out what and who is worthy, with healthy boundaries, to give to was very difficult for me. I actually just recently in the past couple years got a handle on it.  Now that I can identify that if it’s harming myself or taking away from those who healthily give back to me, it’s not fair/ balanced/ good. And that’s not to say XYZ doesn’t have this to give me so I can’t give it to them. No. It’s wow XYZ really needs love and support and then without any expectation from myself XYZ appreciates me or somehow displays gratitude. Not continuing to take from me/ advantage of my giving. Does that make sense? I’ve learned those people will suck all the give you have AND MORE! So now I continue to love the takers I encounter, just from a distance. 😉 Balancing my self care is also something I work very hard at, because again I will give my all to everything and everyone else last and leave myself nothing. But after multiple times of my husband and my mom (we are really close if you can’t tell) saying “No! Stop! You are going to burn out.”  I’ve finally realized they are right. My husband has become my best meter with this he will tell me “Do you really think you’ve got it in you? Or do you think you might want to… instead.” See he’s a smart man. He knows if he tells me what to do I push back and prove wrong. I’ve been a stubborn one my whole life, it’s seen as a negative trait most often in society but it’s gotten me far in life so I’m keeping it. Ha. But if he has me look at the situation from an outside perspective I can make wiser choices. Now, after some practice I can do this better on my own…. yet I still need gentle reminders from time to time from those who love me most. I only have so many spoons (please read the Spoon Theory), I need to distribute them wisely.

What is the biggest struggle you face right now?

My biggest struggle right now is definitely my battle with my autoimmune disease, and what that means for my future.

Do you mind sharing more about your autoimmune disease?

Not at all. It’s actually become one of my purposes in life. To share, advocate (working on figuring out more ways to do that), educate on what Lupus and RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) are, and break through any and all stereotypes that goes along with the diagnoses. I was diagnosed initially with RA at age 25 and it took years to put the rest of the puzzle together and be diagnosed with an overlap of Lupus. It takes daily maintenance but is not a daily struggle. I have rough patches- mentally, physically, emotionally- but who doesn’t?! I chose to bare my cross as best as I can, and it honestly has brought about many life lessons and gifts that wouldn’t come to someone my age without this journey. So now I see it as I have a longer time to enjoy those gifts. God willing.

What is Lupus and What is RA?

Both RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and Lupus are autoimmune diseases. So let’s start there- an autoimmune disease is when the immune system builds up antibodies that attack normal healthy tissues, instead of just doing its job of attacking foreign invaders like germs, bacteria, and viruses. RA primarily causes inflammation in the joint lining which over time leads to damage, loss of mobility and deformity. So early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is important. Lupus is similar in that it attacks normal tissue but it hits major organ systems. The majority of people you hear with Lupus have Kidney issues, like Selena Gomez for instance, who recently got a transplant because of the severity of her organ damage. But everyone’s lupus is different and can attack any organ/organ system, from skin to brain and everything in between.

What makes them worse? What makes them better? 

Everyone’s body reacts differently to these diseases but for jackpot winners like myself, having an overlapping diagnosis makes everything a little more complicating. It is a balancing act and a learning curve to diagnose, treat, and manage. I do better with consistent sleep, good nutrition, and sticking to my medicine regimen and infusions. Also getting enough physical activity is important to keep my joints from being stiff and for my circulation. What makes it worse? The opposite of everything that makes my symptoms better, haha, or a flare. Flares are awful. Sometimes they occur do to an overexertion of some sort on my part over time but other times they just come out of the blue. They are not only painful, but they are debilitating and cause complications and damage.

How has your faith helped you throughout your life and career? 

My faith has always my safety net. When I am lost or down or sad I know I am not where I need to be in my relationship with God. I’m human, I am very imperfect, and I am stubborn and strong willed and I like to do things my way. But every now and again that leads me down a frustrating or empty path and my faith helps me regroup, reprioritize, and keep moving forward. In my career I don’t think I could do what I do, as well as I do, without the love and compassion that comes through me. Nobody can teach you to love people how I love people. I am merely an instrument of Gods work. Most nurses are. Also, nursing can be TOUGH, you see people on their worst days and living their worst nightmares. If I didn’t have my faith to help me cope with those experiences, I know I would be a mess.

How did you get involved in youth ministry?

I received an e mail one day saying someone in the church had recommended I become a core member and they extended an offer to interview. I was taken back, I still don’t know who it was. I accepted the offer and went in for an interview and the rest is history. High school teens have it REALLY hard these days and I am grateful for the opportunity to help them strengthen their faith and help bring them closer to God. What I didn’t realize is just how much I’d learn and how much it would strengthen my own faith.

 How has this helped strengthen your faith? 

It has made me take a deep look at where my faith is at, and what I need to work on in order to better serve these teens. It is easy to become complacent in our spiritual lives and just go through the motions but being intentional takes a lot more thought and study and In doing so I just keep opening door after door of knowledge which leads me to better understanding of my faith and ultimately closer to God. And when I am close to God “on my Jesus high” 🙂 there’s nothing that can dull my light.

What do you enjoy most about being a mother?

UNCONDITIONAL love. Is there really anything better in the world? My heart beats for these tiny humans who came from my body. I’ve been infatuated with them since the day I knew I was pregnant with each one. I love getting to know them at every stage and every age. I always think the stage they are in is the best one, and then the next one comes along with all of its own special moments and I just can’t get enough.

What’s your favorite thing to do with your children? 

Go camping or on a day trip to the mountains. Getting away from “real life” and all of its distractions is when I learn the most about my children. They love to be outdoors and I feel like our whole family bonds doing all things outdoors. Fishing, hiking, picnics, water sports, 4 wheeling, shooting- ADVENTURE.

What do you like to do during your free time? 

Shop. I love deals, even if it’s just on groceries. Ha. Lunch dates or donut dates with friends are a favorite. Photography- I take pictures of everything, I’ve gotta admit, I am kind of a social media junky, it keeps me connected to all my people! Haha. And just like any mom when I get quiet time I like to watch movies, tv series (usually nerdy or romantic ones) and read.

What led you to Rodan and Fields?

Rodan and Fields came to be so randomly. I was having skin issues (medication acne) plus I was approaching 30 and a family member said you’ve gotta try this stuff, she was selling it, it’s amazing… and on it went. I never really took great care of my skin because I never had to. I was blessed with good skin all growing up, rarely had a pimple. So I had a hard time spending the money at first but once I saw the results I was so happy. I had my old skin back but better, I aged backwards. 😂 Needless to say people at work and even random people in the store would comment on my skin and I sent them to my family member to get products and she finally said “I really appreciate the referrals but why don’t you just become a consultant and make some side money?” So I did. I am glad I did, it’s an awesome company and has given me another community of people to be apart of…. I love people.

What advice can you give to people who are on the fence about trying Rodan and Fields? 

Try it! If you are unhappy with your skin or want improvement in your skin this is the best thing to try. It’s the number one skin care line in North America. There are so many options for each individuals skin care needs and all products are backed with a 60 day money back guarantee, so there is really NOTHING to lose.

Website: MaisonSanchez.myrandf.com

I loved interviewing Maison. She has gone through so much and continues to persevere everyday. Maison is beautiful inside and out and has taught me a lot about life. I’m grateful to have met her!

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