I was diagnosed with Lupus in 1995, after several years of pain and swelling in my joints. I had seen many doctors, and was told by some that it was all in my head. When I was finally diagnosed, the disease had already started to flare and I immediately had to be put on a high dosage of steroids. I was only 19 years old, confused and had no idea what this disease was or what it would do to my life. I had a three year old daughter and the only thing I could think of at the time was, there is no way I can leave my daughter without a mother!
I continued to stay on the steroids for a couple of years because my body was so immune to them, that when they tried to wean me off, I would have a bad flare. In 2000, they found avascular necrosis (dead bone) in my left hip. I then had to have my hip replaced. Shortly after my surgery, I went back to work and started to become very weak, tired and having so much swelling in my legs and feet that I could barely walk. My doctor scheduled a kidney biopsy and the results were Stage 4 Lupus Nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys). The Lupus had taken a turn for the worst and I had to start Chemotherapy right away.
My kidneys were so inflamed that the doctors were worried I would have kidney failure. During the chemotherapy, my bone marrow wasn’t producing cells fast enough. I had to have blood transfusions before my chemotherapy every week. I would check into the hospital early in the morning and return home in the late afternoon. Still trying to work full time in an Oncologist office, the doctor that I worked for gave me the news I didn’t want to hear; I needed to stop working or my disease would get worse. I became very depressed at that point but tried my hardest to stay strong for my daughter. With the chemotherapy I was having and because of all the medication I was on, the doctors informed me that I would not be able to have any more children. I did everything I shouldn’t have done because I felt mad, angry, hurt, anything you could think of, I was feeling it. I would ask God “Why?” all the time.
I started going to church in early 2002 because it was the only thing I felt I had left to get me through everything I was feeling. One week before I was married in September of ’02,’ I had my last chemotherapy treatment. The inflammation in my kidneys went down and no longer needed the chemo or transfusions. In ’03,’ I gave birth to my son Matthew, the pregnancy went perfectly and I had no problems. I was induced early, but just for precautions. In ’05,’ I had my second son Josiah and there were no complications.
It has been 17 years since I was diagnosed and although I have some setbacks, I have never felt better or been happier! The Lord has truly blessed my family and I through this fight and has surrounded me with the best friends and support I could ever ask for!! There were times that I didn’t think I was strong enough, but God!! Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you and thank you again for helping me raise awareness for this disease!
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.
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.