I suppose my story begins at age 16. I’m now 32 and I’ve been fighting this fight for half my life. I first started getting sick with symptoms like most others; swollen joints, fatigue, and doctors who couldn’t diagnose me. By 17 it was confirmed that I had SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus) and my kidneys were slowly shutting down. I began chemotherapy and a high dose of steroids.
At 22, my kidneys shut down completely. With an extra 60 lbs of fluid weight on me, I immediately began dialysis and was in congestive heart failure. I was angry at the world and after the first couple of years, I was so tired of fighting and I was ready to give up. At 25, I received what I thought at the time was the greatest gift ever, a kidney transplant. I finally felt like I had been through the worst and it was smooth sailing from there.
For a while it was. I ended up getting pregnant at 27, which I had been told would never happen for me, and there was nothing in the world I wanted more. My daughter, Taitum, now four and a half years old, is my new reason to show this disease that it will not control my life.
Sadly, two years after having Taitum, my transplant failed, and I am once again back on dialysis. I’ve since also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and the pain some days seem unbearable. It takes all I have to push it aside and be the best mother I can. There are so many days that I think I’m going to break, but I refuse to let these things define me. As a single mother, I struggle every day to make sense of it all. But I’m so lucky to have such an amazing daughter, family, and friends who support me. The world can be a cruel place, but I stand tall and proud and I won’t let any of this keep me from living the best life possible.
I fight for me, I fight for my daughter, and I fight for those without a voice. I have lupus but lupus does not have me!
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.