Tisha Campbell Says Her Sarcoidosis Went Into Remission After She Divorced Duane Martin

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During a visit to the The Mibo Show podcast with Shanti Dias, mental health advocate and music industry executive, Tisha Campbell opened up about how her health has improved since leaving behind her marriage and the stress that came with it.

The actress and singer talked about her experience with lung disease, specifically sarcoidosis, which impacts Black women more than white women (and men). It is an inflammatory disease that brings about growths, or granulomas, most often in the lungs, eyes and lymph nodes, and if allowed to get bad (there are four stages), it can lead to organ damage.

She realized something was wrong after having her first son, Xen, and while working on My Wife and Kids in 2001. “I just could not breathe. It felt like an elephant was on my chest,” she recalled. She thought she had pneumonia, and took all sorts of medications to find relief. Soon after, she saw “lesions” on her neck and arms and went to her doctor. Following testing, seeing a specialist, and having a biopsy done of her lungs, she was diagnosed with Stage I sarcoidosis.

“[The doctor] said you have four stages. We can’t let it get worse,” she said. “So I was on steroids for a long time, and you know how steroids do. They bloat you, they make you very, very sick in other ways, with your insulin and all kinds of stuff. So I was pre-diabetic and it just kept getting worse.”

When she had her second son, Ezekiel, delivering through a second Cesarean section, she found out her sarcoidosis had developed into Stage 2. Concerned about the disease, she talked with comedian Bernie Mac, who suffered from it at Stage 4, and died from complications of pneumonia.

“He had the worst kind. He would be in between scenes getting oxygen, and I just didn’t want to be that,” she said. “I knew any type of stress adds on to any disease that you have. I just started working out really hard despite the fact that I could not breathe at all.”

It wasn’t until four years ago that she saw a change in her experience with the disease. She felt better than ever, and her symptoms subsided.

“Everything helped. But I believe…I’m sorry, I have to tell the truth. I have been in remission for four years now. They can’t find it at the base of my brain at all. I haven’t gotten sick not one time,” she said. “I was so scared to get COVID because I thought, if I get COVID, I’m going to die. Every cold took me to the hospital. Every sniffle. Allergies, it would just build up and I would get sick. But I have not been sick since I got a divorce.”

“I don’t mean no harm,” she said, laughing. “But when you have any type of disorder or anything like that…stress is a killer. And it’s connected to your body!”

Campbell filed for divorce from Duane Martin, whom she’d married in 1996 and had her sons with, in 2018. She accused him of physical abuse, as well as the mental and emotional kind shortly after they married. The divorce was finalized in 2020. He recently announced an engagement to model Ashley Marie Jones in February. As for Campbell, she’s been back on TV screens and is glad to be feel like herself again, if not better than before.

“I’m so proud of where I am in my mental health and my physical health now,” she said on the podcast. “I understood that they’re a combination. If you have any type of disorder, it’s important to understand that you’ve got to do everything.”

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