Landscaper/designer Eduardo Xol of the popular TV show Extreme Makeover:
Home Edition is all about balance: finding it for his own life and bringing
it to the people he designs for.
His second book, Extreme Entertaining Made Simple, in bookstores Nov.
4, communicates this reassuring philosophy. “I design for all the five senses,”
Xol says, “to create a home that helps provide relaxation and balance in your
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system mistakes the body's own tissues as foreign invaders and attacks them. Some people with lupus suffer only minor inconvenience. Others suffer significant lifelong disability.
Lupus affects people of African, Asian, or Native American descent two to three times as often as it affects whites. Nine out of 10 people with lupus are women. The disease usually strikes between age 15 and 44, although it can occur in older individuals.
On Extreme Makeover, Xol often designs for families with health
challenges. Five years ago, he and his family faced a crisis of their own when
his sister, Monica, then 28, was diagnosed with lupus.
What is lupus?
Some 1.5 million people in the United States -- the vast majority of them
young women between 18 and 45 -- have this often-puzzling autoimmune disease
with a constellation of symptoms ranging from joint swelling and muscle pain to
hair loss, chest pain, and rashes. Xol admits his sister is lucky. “Even though
she’s been through some rough patches, she has a very manageable form of the
To feel as well as she could, however, she needed to make some health
adjustments. “She used to drink a lot of caffeine and not enough water, didn’t
get enough exercise, and got stressed out,” he says. “For a while she was on a
medication to deal with the symptoms of lupus, but it was really hard on her
Living with lupus
“We sat down and I said, ‘hey, are the side effects from this medication
outweighing the benefits? What if you made other healthy choices first?’” Even
for people whose lupus cannot be managed without medication, making some
changes -- such as eating more balanced meals and getting regular exercise --
can help prevent flare-ups. “She’s doing really well now,” Xol says.
Xol admits he struggles with finding that balance himself. Extreme
Makeover usually has two builds going at once to finish some 25 houses
every year, and “I’ve become a bit of a workaholic,” he says. “I’m learning to
say no to things. And I’ll go home to the house I grew up in and immediately