Living with Lupus: Ana Membreno

When I was diagnosed with Lupus SLE in August of 2012, I did not know anything about the disease. From reading the Lupus Foundation of America website, and talking with my doctor, I now know more about Lupus and what I can do to keep healthy despite the disease.

My case was difficult to diagnose since I did not seem to have the normal symptoms in my 26 years before I was hit with a mystery infection which triggered a flare. After two weeks in the hospital and many tests and procedures, a preliminary diagnosis was made and later was confirmed as Lupus SLE.

Looking back over the months before I was diagnosed, I now realize there were many small signs that signaled that I might be a Lupus victim – hair loss, joint pain, fatigue, constant fevers and body aches. Two months after my diagnosis I had an even more severe flare with the butterfly rash added to the symptoms. During the six weeks it took to recover from that flare, I tried to keep a positive outlook and focus on return to normal life.

The last four months have been good and I feel stronger in all respects – physical, emotional and spiritual. Though the challenges can seem overwhelming, I have been helped enormously by my loving family, fiancé and friends. Sharing with other Lupus victims in the support group sponsored by the Lupus Foundation of America has also been a help.

I am a volunteer at the Lupus Foundation of America Southeast Florida Chapter. This is a great opportunity to speak with other Lupus victims and advocates; and to learn more about the disease so to better manage my own health and my life.