Thirty-One Faces of Hope: Q. Simone Cole
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.
Q. Simone Cole, Georgia Educator
My childhood was different. While most of my playmates loved the hot Alabama summers, I did not, so the label as the kid who preferred to play indoors easily stuck. I was 8 or 9 when my random pain began. Doctors called them growing pains and I carried those pains well into my teens. At 15 I finally had an answer for my painful episodes, red cheeks, and bizarre intolerance for hot and cold temps. Its name was lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus.
My relief in hearing about Lupus for the first time came to a devastating halt the night I realized that people, and in this case a child younger than me, die from this disease! Life from that moment on was a cycle of fear, denial, and anger. Health-wise I battled joint pain, ulcers, fluid around my heart and lungs, two bowel obstructions requiring surgery, gallbladder surgery, organ failure, and the stillbirth of my only child.
My journey hasn't been easy but it has fueled my purpose! I'm praying for a cure, but in the meantime, I'm fighting for a more timely diagnosis, funding for medication, resources for those whose livelihoods have been altered by severe flares, and the basic awareness that lupus exists.
- Q.Simone Cole, Georgia Educator, living with lupus