Diagnosed at 17

What do you want others to know about lupus?

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmmune disease in which the immune system attacks your own body. In Lupus, the immune system is overactive, causing it to damage joints, skin, organs and healthy tissues. Most people suffering from Lupus have periods of flares, which includes fatigue, joint and muscle pain and can also cause problems with kidneys.

Why is lupus a cruel mystery to you?

Lupus has impacted my life in so many ways. I was diagnosed in April 2008 as I was ending my Junior year of high school. Cheerleading was very important to me and I missed try outs for my senior year because I was in the hospital being diagnosed. Because I had never heard about Lupus, I spent a lot of days in fear, unsure of what was going to happen to me. The Prednisone caused me to gain a lot of weight but my weight gain is mostly my fault as well. I learned that once you become educated about this disease, you then want to try whatever you can to help make things better for you and the other people going through the same thing. The hardest part with dealing with Lupus is dealing with people who do not understand. Many people look at me and say "but you don't look sick". It's hard to explain to them the way I feel if they do not understand how Lupus works. I definitely can't tape my immune system on the outside of my body to show the world the damage that it can do. The only thing I can do is make them aware of something that I battle with everyday. The more people that I teach, the better I feel about myself. I think it's important that people know more about Lupus. The more we educate, the harder we can find a cure!

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