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Stephanie’s Fight Like A Girl Story (Lupus)

Stephanie's Story (Lupus)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!

Submitted 5-22-2012

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.


  1. sandy baker

    lupus since 1987

  2. Michelle Perez

    Keep fighting! I am 41 and have had Lupus for 9 years and also diagnosed with Sjogrens syndrome. I am the mother of 5, and my children are my life. I fight because no one is going to love or care for them as I do. I want to enjoy every minute of them and Lupus will not stop me. There are times is not easy but I refuse to give up! I pray all goes well, keep the faith!

  3. Caroline Gort

    Thanks for sharing Stephanie. 12 years into living with Lupus I know that sharing with others who have the disease has brought me the strength to get through and amazing friendships.

    Stay strong. This next transplant will work and you will be here for your daughter and all who love you.

  4. Jessica

    I am truly inspired by your experience and outlook on life. I am a single mom of four beautiful children. Shortly after my fourth child was born I got extremely sick and after many doctors appts was finally diagnosed with Fibro and then later Lupus SLE. My disease has not attacked my organs, but I can relate to the constant battle of juggling motherhood and these awful conditions. You are on my prayers and I hope your next transplant goes successfully. Take care of both yourself and your amazing blessing!!!

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