Hi, my name is Judy. My story began 55 years ago. I was 14 and having uncontrollable nosebleeds. Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia was diagnosed. I was okay for 6 months then contracted meningitis, was hospitalized and missed the first half of my junior year. Both of those occurrences were actually manifestations of Lupus but in 1957, that was not something of which my doctors in Kansas City were aware. Just 18 months later, I came to St. Louis for college and graduated with a teaching degree in speech and theatre.
At age 27, while getting my master’s, I started experiencing pain in my hands. Later, I developed a lot of pain and was hospitalized and diagnosed with active lupus nephritis. (This was before kidney transplants were common). This time, instead of quickly getting better, I kept getting worse with many complications and more hospitalizations which included a night my family spent at my bedside expecting the worst. Realizing I could not keep up with the demands of teaching and directing plays, I changed careers and worked as the first Director of Development at the school where I had been teaching. Since then, I have been relatively well with only relatively minor medical challenges.
I have to end my story by emphasizing that the work of the Lupus Foundation is enormously important because the medical challenges for the lupus patient enormous and life-long. Thanks to them, I have a very active life, with great friends and family, am still working at 69, visiting and playing baseball and football with my 7 year-old nephew in KC, going to plays, traveling and generally enjoying life.