Developing lupus can be a life alternating experience. Stories in this area are about people who have grabbed that lemon and squeezed it into lemonade. These are people whose lives were changed by lupus but they turned that change into positive energy and are now pursing other goals and ambitions.
You are invited to submit your personal story to this website. Access the submission form here.
In the meantime, we invite you read the story below which appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of Lupus Now magazine.
Forging New Paths
Three women triumph as authors after lupus sidelined their first careers
By Resa Nelson
What happens to your career if you’re diagnosed with lupus? How do you continue when the symptoms become too difficult to manage? Some people negotiate to reduce their office hours or work from home. Others, however, are forced to give up their careers and face the challenge of “what do I do now?”
Meet three women with lupus who refused to let the “what next?” question slow their momentum to make a difference. These women all rose to the occasion and found new careers and success in the literary world—reaching their audiences one page at a time.
Reveling in Red
Amy Butler Greenfield was on a path to becoming a history professor when she was diagnosed with lupus at age 26. Recalling how her hands had ballooned, Greenfield says, “I was in excruciating pain most of the time and it felt like my body was falling apart.”
Greenfield suspects she experienced lupus symptoms as young as age 17. “I occasionally get laryngitis, which is one of the more bizarre symptoms that people get.”
While working toward earning a Ph.D., she found it painful to type, her joints were aching, and being in the sun was difficult. "I thought it was just stress. I was going through oral exams for my Ph.D., and I was getting married and moving abroad."
Greenfield, now 37, says on one hand, she was grateful for what she’d already experienced in life. She had lived in England, traveled to Spain, earned two college degrees, and married “a wonderful man.” On the other hand, she wondered, what now?
Newly married, she took a leave of absence from her Ph.D. program to manage her health. The goal of living an academic life lost its appeal, and Greenfield asked herself what she really wanted to accomplish. The answer soon became clear. "I wanted to write a book that somehow told a story that spoke to people."
“It was less than a month from the time I decided not to go back [to the Ph.D. program] that the idea for A Perfect Red came to me,” Greenfield says. “I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I’ve always heard that a clenched fist can’t accept anything. You have to have an open hand. You have to let go for it to be filled. So this book was the gift I got that I would not have gotten any other way. It stretched me as a historian more than a dissertation would have done. It was the kind of book I wanted to write."