Life decided to throw me a curve ball when I was 15. After a year of extreme fatigue (sleeping 10-12 hours nightly and naps during the day), ulcers in my mouth and nose, weight gain and severe pain in my joints (I couldn’t even brush my teeth my wrists hurt so much) I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (S.L.E.), which is a chronic and often disabling autoimmune disease.
In this disease, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs. The symptoms of SLE can be:
- Mouth and nose ulcers
- Skin rash
- Raynaud's Phenomenon
- Lung problems
- Arthritis in hands, small joins and feet
- Swollen spleen
SLS can be very difficult to diagnose. There is no cure for SLS and remissions can be rare.
Before the diagnosis I was put on 2-4 Ibuprofen every 4 hours just to get through the pain. Although this helped the pain it didn't help my stomach. The Ibuprofen was really hard on my stomach and I ended up having severe stomach pain and had to go in for a scope. It showed that my stomach lining was very red and inflamed. After being properly diagnosed and put on Plaquenil and Celebrex I was able to get my disease under control. I still take Plaquenil daily but have been able to go off the Celebrex.
This was a really hard time in my life to be dealing with such a disease. I had gained almost 30 pounds, feeling like garbage and was heading into high school. I survived it and this is when I truly started being "addicted" to quotes. My walls in my room were plastered with quotes that I printed out. I remember my mom telling me "Everything happens for a reason" & "God only gives you what you can handle". These have been my go to quotes still to this day but during that time I remember being angry that I had the disease. Why me?
At that age I don't think you truly understand but now that I am an adult I truly believe everything does happen for a reason and God does only give you what you can handle. And I can handle this!
I got this! I am still alive! It has given me the strength to always remember to take care of my body. It has showed me that sleep and proper nutrition is so important and that living a stress free life is key. Don't get me wrong I still have stress in my life but if I don't manage it then I get run down and sick. I try avoiding getting sick at all costs because when I do I end up sick for a lot longer than a healthy person. Usually it takes me 2-4 weeks to get over a normal cold and that is not fun!
If you know of anyone who is suffering from Lupus please pass my information along. I would love to chat with them and help them through whatever struggles they may be faced with. If you think you may have Lupus please go see a Doctor.
In closing I am sharing a few photos of me when I was 16-17, it's not easy to do because I am not proud of the way I looked but sometimes things are out of your control and you just need to roll with the punches.