Thirty-One Faces of Hope: Nicole Francis
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 Nicole Francis
I was diagnosed in 1998. I was scared and angry because the life I knew prior to the diagnosis would never be the same. I remember crying to my mother in the hospital that I didn’t want to be sick for the rest of my life, when at that time, I was only 23 years old. The months before the diagnosis were very hectic. I was in a stressful relationship, going to college and working part time as a nail tech. At the time I was living in Atlanta, GA. As I started getting sick, one of the first things that started happening to my body was fatigue and pain in my joints. Not knowing what exactly was going on with my body, I would hang out in the sun for hours. It was when my hair started falling out, I realized something was wrong. I eventually left Georgia and moved back home to Detroit, MI, and that’s when I got the news.
Due to the history of my paternal grandfather, I was able to learn of my autoimmune disorder. At the time, my heart and my lungs were affected. After years of learning how to deal with these new ailments, I’ve tried to live my life as best I know how. Despite various medications and specialty doctors, I went back to college and received my bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. I moved to Washington, DC and became a Social Studies teacher. I was so happy that I was finally able to provide for myself and live the life I had dreamed of. Unfortunately, that life was short lived. Just twelve months later, I suffered a massive stroke. It was the scariest thing that I had even been through. Spending weeks in the hospital and months of post care. I had to go to speech, physical and occupational therapy. I hated it but I knew I had to put in the work so I could get my life back on track. Unfortunately, I couldn’t return to teaching full time or some of my favorite hobbies like roller skating, but I am glad that I am still able to care for myself. I still have my good and bad days but with the support of my family (especially my mother) and friends, I can continue this journey. Lastly but certainly not least, I thank God for keeping me despite all the highs and lows and I know that without Him none of this journey would be possible.
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.