Thirty-One Faces of Hope: Helga Moore-Manso
The lupus community includes people living with lupus, friends, family and supporters across Georgia. For Lupus Awareness Month, we would like to highlight some of our lupus heroes and champions.
My name is Helga J. Moore-Manso, I was born Feb 22, 1961 in Savannah, GA. In 1985, I moved to Atlanta, GA with one daughter and a son who was born with disabilities. In 1986 after getting settled and moving into my apartment, I became very sick. I had a temp of a 104. My sister immediately rushed me to the emergency room. The doctor did a lot of testing but found nothing and sent me home.
I decided to move back home to Savannah two months later, but two days before leaving I received a call from the doctor saying I missed an appointment and that he needed to see me right away. My response was why? The doctor said, “I need to see you in my office.” I told him I was moving back home and that’s when he told me I had lupus. I never heard of it and didn’t know what it was. So I said, “okay,“ and I didn’t take it seriously. The doctor continued, “Once you get back home please see a doctor right away.”
I didn’t pay it any mind, but once I got back to Savannah I began to get sick again.
I didn’t have any energy, I was always tired like life was sucked right out of me. I decided to move back to Atlanta so that I could see the doctor that told me I had lupus. After I moved back, the doctor said that I’ve had lupus since I was a child, but I never showed any symptoms.
For the first 5 years I was very sick. I swelled up to 190 - 200 lbs of fluid because my kidney wasn’t releasing the fluid from my body. Once the fluid was out of my body then the prednisone made me gain weight uncontrollably. My legs would get so big that blood would come through the cracks of my legs. I also became depressed. This Disease is very serious.
It was truly a struggle until I learned to understand lupus. I had to learn what works for my body and my dos and don’ts, especially when it came to foods, medication and daily exercises. Today, I am 59 years old and I’ve had lupus for 34 years. Today, I am living my life to the fullest! I don’t live with lupus, lupus lives with me, meaning I am in control!