Emily
Diagnosed at 18

What do you want others to know about lupus?

Lupus touches everyone involved in your life. This is a chronic disorder that simply doesn't get better and go away; once diagnosed it is a matter of learning to live with the disorder.

Why is lupus a cruel mystery to you?

I was diagnosed 2 weeks before starting my freshman year of college at the University of Pittsburgh. I had returned from a trip abroad not feeling right. As the weeks progressed my fatigue intensified, I had daily fevers and my joints hurt so badly that getting up for my day as a lifeguard was near impossible. When I called my pediatric nurse practitioner for an appointment she told me to come in that day; she diagnosed me within 3 days of me going to her office for an appointment. Throughout my freshman year I was put on high doses of steroids and Methotrexate both of which caused me to gain 30 pounds and for my hair to fall out. During my freshman year, I was at the rheumatologist every 3 - 4 weeks while trying to maintain a nursing curriculum. The next 3 years got progressively better - there were a handful of my best friends that knew my situation and wouldn't push if I didn't feel good. Being a nursing student proved difficult but I managed to graduate and find a job that I love. I have since moved on to graduate school for my Masters in Nursing; I'm studying to be a pediatric NP. My goal for this degree is to graduate Cum Laude which is something that I was never able to accomplish as an undergrad! Lupus has changed the way I view myself; I know that I can conquer any goals I set for myself!

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