I had been pretty much healthy all of my adolescent years, until I was about 18 years old. I woke up one day and every inch of me was in chronic pain. I felt as if I had been run over. I thought maybe I had done too much the day before and my muscles were just sore. A few days later the pain went away and I thought no more of it.
I am now 33 years old and since that day I have had many more episodes of chronic pain, some lasting a few days and, the longest, a year and a half. I have seen more doctors than I can count, most told me nothing was wrong with me, that it was all in my head. I have taken just about every anti- inflammatory and narcotic on the market with very little relief. By time I turned 22 I was receiving disability and have been ever since. I have learned to live with the pain and not let it define who I am or what I want to become.
This summer I was feeling great. I went out and bought myself a bike for the first time in years. I enjoyed the rides with my children more than I imagined. By the time July came around I started to feel a little achy. Sure enough, a couple days later, I woke up in another episode of chronic pain, but this was different. I can not remember a time when the pain was quiet as bad as it is now. Being a full time student and single mother of five I have refused to let it slow me down. I have fought for my independence as hard as I could , but I have come to a point where I have to make a few adjustments.
In June 2011, I was bike riding with my children. Early July, I was using my cane and, by mid-July, a walker ( with a seat), and I just got a power chair a few weeks ago. I never stopped going to school. People call me stubborn and tell me I am doing too much but I want to set an example for my children and I want them to know I gave my all.
I went back to the doctors once again for more test and check ups that made the pain even worse. When they took x-rays of my hips I thought to myself death could not be this bad! A couple days after my appointment I got a call from my doctor telling me they know what is wrong. I have Lupus! Through my own research, I am still learning about the condition I have been living with for so long. There is a little relief now that there is a name to go along with the pain and knowing my doctors no longer think I am crazy.
I have a long road ahead of me and it is not always going to be easy. It takes much longer to do the simple things I used to but I still manage to do them. I require more sleep and rest than I use to and I will admit I have a hard time coping with that some days, but I refuse to let my diagnosis hold me back. I will continue to raise my children and get my college degree. Lupus most definitely has changed my life, but there is no way I will let it be the end.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.