Why I Walk: Sierra Carroll
Sierra has been living with lupus for about 8 years. She was diagnosed after it was discovered that she had a DVT Blood Clot in her right leg and suffered a stroke back in 2005, when she was only a freshman in high school. Being diagnosed was not easy to understand as she was only 15 years old at the time. She spent her entire freshman year in the hospital. Having lupus at such a young age forced her to grow up faster than other teenagers.
She dealt with the side effects of the stroke and physical therapy from the clot in her leg. She had slurred speech and involuntary muscle movements but within the year, she overcame all of the effects that the stroke caused and felt a little bit "human" again.
She dealt with fatigue mostly during high school, sometimes getting the flu, which was usually accelerated because of the lupus. Stress caused by sickness along with the typical high school life - grades and social problems - occurred, but she did not have to endure many flare ups once she was diagnosed and medicated. She graduated high school in 2009.
Up until around the year 2010, she started to get sores in her mouth and got sick more often. Her doctor raised her medications and a year later, she started to develop the commonly known "butterfly rash" on her face and her chest. She could not sit in the sun for more than five minutes without going from pale to red. The past year she has been dealing with more flare ups, very bad joint pains, rashes, sores, and pericarditis pain, which is an inflammation of the heart muscles causing her pain when she breathes. She has been hospitalized 8 times within the last year due to this pain. More common are her severe migraines.
Lupus is an everyday battle in her life. She walks simply because she CAN still walk for people who CAN'T and because she supports this much-needed cause that is a cruel, mysterious, crazy illness that affects millions of Americans daily.