Thirty-One Faces of Hope: Kayla Alexander
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.
Meet Kayla Alexander
Hi, my name is Kayla Alexander and I am a Lupus Warrior. 5 years ago I started showing symptoms of lupus. Joint pain, extreme fatigue, butterfly rash, swollen joints, and sensitivity to the sun. But it was not until July 2022 that I was diagnosed. That June I noticed my hair falling out in clumps and my other symptoms had worsened, so I immediately made an appointment with my rheumatologist. She ran my blood panels, and sure enough my ANA came back high and I tested positive for a lupus specific antibody. I had already been on plaquenil for 4 years so my blood tests concerned my doctor with my levels rising while being on plaquenil so we immediately started treatment with methotrexate, a low dose chemotherapy drug.
After a few months methotrexate really seemed to help. Then, in November 2022, I went into one of the worst flares I’ve experienced and my blood work showed organ involvement with my liver and kidneys. My doctor then recommended combination therapy, plaquenil, methotrexate, and benlysta. It took 2 months of fighting tooth and nail with my insurance to finally get approved for benlysta. I started treatment in February 2023. Having lupus has been a journey I did not expect, I spent so long not being diagnosed and not feeling heard by so many doctors I had lost hope. So when I was diagnosed I couldn’t believe it, I spent so long in limbo it felt unreal. Ever since my diagnosis, I felt compelled to work on spreading awareness for this disease.
Last year I participated in my first ever Walk to End Lupus in Macon, GA and I have already signed up to participate again in this year’s Walk to End Lupus in Macon, GA. I’ve spent a lot of time reaching out to our state representatives to help progress research and funding for lupus and even received some wonderful responses from our senators. I hope to continue to bring funding and awareness to this awful disease that has flipped my life upside down.
I am so thankful for the Lupus Foundation Georgia Chapter for giving me a platform to do so, and be not only a lupus warrior, but an advocate for this disease. This is my journey so far. This is my story. I hope one day we find Our cure!
Thank You to Our Generous Sponsor
Choosing to prioritize your kidney health might be uncomfortable, but the reality is that up to 30% of people who live with lupus nephritis may experience kidney failure, which can lead to dialysis or even a kidney transplant. Luckily, there are steps you can take now that may help, such as scheduling routine tests and asking your doctor about treatment options. Talk to your doctor to learn more about routine testing and treatment.
Learn more about their GET UNCOMFORTABLE campaign.