Mar. 16, 2017

Like You: E Shane Lee

In 2006 I begin to feel my body changing. While not knowing what was happening or what to expect, I headed to the doctor for a physical. The first doctor I visited could not find anything but an inflamed liver. The doctor prescribed medication for me, however from that point on I still felt less well than before. In 2011, while residing in Nashville, TN I sensed that my pain level was worsening and weakness began to set in. The doctor at that time did a full blood panel. After reviewing the bloodwork, they called and stated that I needed to go to the hospital right away. The doctor continued stating that I was not going to make it due to the test results that showed my liver was inflamed. I was sent to the emergency room right away. However, going to the ER was a waste of time.

Fast forward to 2012, I now reside in Indianapolis, IN. At that point I knew that something was wrong. During this time, climbing stairs was a major task, I would fall often, I could barely get up whenever I sat down, and I was losing weight to a point my clothes looked too big. When we moved into a new home, I felt bad because I could not lift anything over 15 lbs without feeling pain in my arms and legs. The day I knew that it was time to seek medical attention is when I felt continuous pain in my fingers, wrist, elbows, shoulders, back, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. My body was truly shutting down and I just could not understand why. Being a man who should feel like the provider for his family was not my reality. I felt weak. I had to put pride aside and listen to my family and go to the doctor. So I scheduled an appointment with my primary doctor. After going to my primary doctor, she stated that something was truly wrong. She sent me to the cancer center for tests and evaluation. They ran every blood test that my body would allow them on that day. They even called me back later that week to do a bone marrow test. The bone marrow test was the worst test that I ever encountered in my life.

I was called back to come to the Cancer Center to speak to the doctor about the results. When he came into the room, he stated that all the tests came back negative but he knew what was going on with me so he ordered an antinuclear antibody test. When that test came back, it came back positive. From that moment, he stated, “Mr. Lee you have lupus.”  My life flashed before my eyes because I had a close cousin to die from this disease. While growing up I had never heard of an auto-immune disease. I never thought something like this could ever happen to me.  During my childhood in Fort Lauderdale, FL my parents introduced me to sports because athletics run in my family. Playing football and running track was something I loved. I was very active from elementary school to college. Even after finishing college I was still very active because track & field was still a part of my life. When I could not run anymore, I started coaching track. While envisioning my life while growing up, I never saw this situation coming. But, I was diagnosed with lupus in the spring of 2013.

From that point of being diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, I became very discouraged and questioned why this happened to me. I did not understand what this disease would do to my body. From the beginning, I felt like giving up and I did not want to be bothered. I was depressed. However, I had to remember that I was alive for a reason and I had to learn to make the best of my situation. After finding my current rheumatologist he instructed me that he was going to help change my life, but I had to be willing to sacrifice the very things that cause people to live unhealthy. He put me on an anti-inflammatory medicine regiment. He also placed me on a high dosage of various vitamins to help aid in my wellness. After about 6 months of life-changing habits, I began to feel so much better and am in the process of healing which for me means managing my disease and avoiding flares

It was hard for me to grasp having lupus since this is a disease that is mostly found in women, but I had to learn to encourage myself. No matter what family said to me to make me feel better, I had to realize that I could fight this on my own. I am a very spiritual person and I read a scripture every day. My favorite including, Psalms 118:17-18: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.” This scripture brought life back into my heart. It made me truly understand that God has given me another chance on life and I must take advantage of it.

At this moment, I am blessed to have a family that supports me. I am blessed to know that I have people around me who understand the concept of the disease. I am at a place in my life that I know one day I will be healed from lupus. In the meantime, I must make sure that I am doing everything possible to live. I have a purpose and I will not be defeated. I will fight... I will fight...I will fight until my body is set free from lupus. Lupus will not defeat me.

Read other stories in our 'Like You' series