Sep. 12, 2017

Finding Hope After Diagnosis

Phil Selman was always an active guy – a coach for his sons little league team, a full-time salesman and an avid runner, often running 10 miles a day. He was always on the go. So when he wasn’t able to run a mile without getting winded, he knew something was off. At first, he attributed it to simply getting older, but a routine physical in February 2010 indicated something more.

When his cholesterol levels came back very low, his doctor did some additional testing and he was then referred to a rheumatologist who concluded that he had lupus. Given the typical demographics of people with lupus, his doctor told him that it was uncommon for a white man in his 50’s to develop this life-altering disease.

“Dealing with lupus has been really tough,” said Phil. “I call lupus a ‘tornado’ because it leaves destruction wherever it touches down. Some days are good and others I can’t even get out of bed because every muscle aches.”

Immediately after Phil was diagnosed, his daughter Pam became his biggest advocate. She spent countless hours researching and understanding more about the disease, and then became very involved in Walk to End Lupus Now™ events – she now serves as the Chair of the Chicago Walk. Having the support of his family and participating in the Walks together has made a huge impact on his life.

“The Walk program has done wonders for me,” said Phil. “I didn’t know what to expect the first time I attended one, but I immediately felt connected to the Walkers who were there to show support for their loved ones.”

For Phil, one of the most challenging parts of having lupus was the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Over time, he’s realized that you can’t control what life deals you, but you can control how you respond. Getting involved with the Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk program and feeling the comradery that comes with participating in these events has given Phil a feeling of hope, something he had been searching for ever since his initial diagnosis.

“I may be a rare case, but attending the Walk made me realize that I’m not alone,” said Phil. “I’ve come to realize that there is no shame in being sick and you just do the best you can with what you have.”

Find a Walk to End Lupus Now™ event in your area.