Brianna S

What do you want others to know about lupus?

Honestly what I want others to know about Lupus is that I want others to know about Lupus. Lupus is so overlooked as the chronic illness it is and I believe that if people took the time to share what they know a difference can really be made. For the longest time I have been a silent voice about Lupus but have recently realized I have a story to tell.

Why is lupus a cruel mystery to you?

Diagnosed at age 23; my mother, Desiree Shaughnessy has been fighting Lupus for about 19 years. At age ten, I can wrap bandages and take blood pressure. By twelve I can flush a stint, give shots, work an IV machine and sort medicine. I have never known anything different. When people ask, I give them my constant answer: Lupus is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body's tissues are attacked by its own immune system; in my mother’s case, her kidneys. I have learned what to say and when to say it, and when to say nothing at all. In seventh grade science, we learn about veins but I think about her fistula. In eighth grade we learn about transplants, but I think about the two that failed her, that failed our family. Today, at age 19, I am training to give my mother dialysis at home and a nursing student ending my first year of college. I could go on endlessly about how Lupus has impacted my family and I but I would rather speak on how it hasn’t. We are strong survivors. If one of us fights Lupus we all fight Lupus. Our family has Lupus, but Lupus doesn’t have us.

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