Alisa S. – Diagnosed at age 35
I will never forget December 2004. It was when I was told that I have lupus. Two months before my diagnosis, I had difficulty walking and my entire body was in so much pain. The fatigue was debilitating. My primary care doctor said that she thought it may be a virus and to get some rest. This went on for two weeks. I called the office and she was out of town but I was able to see another physician in the practice. He walked into the room and immediately said, "Have you ever been tested for lupus?" My answer was no but I could feel fear coming over me. He ran tests and I got the call to see a Rheumatologist. I was lucky that I found out after only a couple of months but the years following were quite a journey.
There were times when I was ready to give up. Despite the challenges, I have learned to live my best life. Lupus is a part of me but it does not define who I am. I have been blessed to have a wonderful family and friends who have been with me through the ups and downs. I have been crowned United States of America's Mrs. Illinois 2023. I continue to support and educate people about lupus through my pageant platform. I want to show the world that I am a woman living and thriving who just happens to have lupus. The best is yet to come!!