Congratulations, You Have Lupus (#HAWMC 28)

Today’s topic for the Health Writer’s Activist Month Challenge is to write about a “first” in your life: “Write a post about the first time you did something. What is it? What was it like? What did you learn from it?”

I decided to write about my “first” diagnosis of lupus. As a young teen in middle school, I felt “kind-of-bad” two and three days of the week. I would get tired, zone out while doing chores, and frequently had headaches, stomach cramps, muscle pain and the strangest “acne” across my cheeks.

For about two years I went back and forth to different doctors. My pediatrician had me tested for everything from lead poisoning to lyme disease. It wasn’t until I had a seizure in high school (which my mom writes about in A Mother’s Journey), that I saw a rheumatologist who finally diagnosed me with lupus.

con·grat·u·la·tions: an expression of joy in the success or good fortune of another.

That diagnosis was the best news I had in a long time. While I was terrified by having an autoimmune disease, I was relieved that my symptoms had a name. There wasn’t some phantom bad mojo that was stalking me; instead, I had a real, honest-to-goodness medical problem that now could be treated.

That diagnosis was a blessing. I believe to this day that my early diagnosis (and treatment) is what helped me have such a full life over the last twenty plus years.

Katina Rae Stapleton

PS. If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have lupus, check out Diagnosing Lupus, a resource provided by the Lupus Foundation of America. Then contact a medical professional for more information and assistance.

2 responses to “Congratulations, You Have Lupus (#HAWMC 28)

  1. I can honestly say that I know how you feel, Katrina. I was in my second year in nursing school when my symptoms started. It took about a year of testing for various illnesses/diseases, all without any results. I was not getting any better. My mother suggested that they test me for lupus, which I had never heard of. She then told me that my Aunt Hazel, who had passed two years ago, had been diagnosed with lupus. They tested me, and it was at last a diagnoses. Since I was in my second year of nursing, we had not gotten to autoimmune diseases yet. But i quickly learned, the hard way. I spent the next three years in and out of nursing school between flare-ups and hospitalizations. I finally graduated and began my nursing career. I still had many flare-ups and remissions during my nursing career, which sadly ended in 2009 due to health problems. I even managed to get my BSN, raise three to five children (another chapter in my life) through it all. I am now retired and on disability, but still wish that I could have worked for several more years. But I tell everyone who I meet and tell my story to, NEVER GIVE UP!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. I am glad to know that you were successfully able to navigate working and raising a family while living with lupus. I know it was a challege, but you never gave up!

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