Living with Lupus: Christina Kusek

My name is Christina Kusek and this is why I walk to end lupus now (link to her walk page). I have been living with Lupus for over 11 years. I consider myself one of the lucky ones! I am lucky to have been blessed with a disease that teaches me more about myself every day and forces me to nurture my body mind and spirit. One day I hope this will lead me down a path to help others as they work on their own personal healing. In 2002, I was diagnosed with SLE, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, with Thrombocytopenia. Being diagnosed was not easy to hear or understand as I was 22 at the time. I am lucky because having supportive loved ones and a great network of doctors who helped me rise up from the "why me" syndrome. It's time for me to share how I overcame tough times and learned what works for my condition as others do the same for me.

Until now I have been very private about my condition. I only talk openly about what I go through with close friends and family. As the active state of my Lupus is ever changing, it has taken me on a journey that has influenced the type of person I am today. I've basically been pushed into having to educate myself on a disease I had never heard of and study remedies for ailments that I refuse to let debilitate me. Besides seeing my regular specialists consistently, coping with my symptoms has opened up opportunities to discover the fascinating world of homeopathic nutrition and energy medicine. I use to think I can't help others if I am still learning to help myself and people would look at me differently if they knew that I had Lupus. I realize now that speaking out is helping others while I am taking care of myself. Someone may hear my story and realize that they can share that they have Lupus too, or can relate because a close friend or family member has Lupus.

I do not know what the future of my disease has in store. I'm currently fighting to keep my spleen or not have monthly IVIG (infusions of gamma globulin to give me more platelets) or go on other medications that could possibly have more side effects than I'd be comfortable with because of my Thrombocytopenia. I know I can do this, I am prepared for this fight but I walk for all others that have a greater fight for their kidneys, heart, other organs and quality of life. I feel like it's not so bad when I've been blessed to give life to my daughter Stella who is now 17 months old, when I know of others that have lost theirs due to this terrible disease. I intend to be here for her and watch her grow into a strong, beautiful woman. I want to show her that any obstacle she faces in life can be approached with grace, strength and passion to succeed. I started by finally joining the Lupus Foundation of America and becoming a Captain of Team Nina's Lupy Lupus for the first Walk To End Lupus Now (link to our walk general page that lists all 3 walks) in Southwest Florida on February 23. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story. I was so excited when I found out about the walk happening here in Naples, FL! It inspired me to finally take action, speak out and get involved in the Lupus Community.