Barbara - Diagnosed Age 18
At age 10, my life did a 360 when my mom was deported back to Haiti. I haven't seen her since but I was so thankful for my aunt who welcomed me into her family and treated me like I was her own.
Fast forward to Sept 18, 2008; diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and high blood pressure. I started to notice I was getting a rash on my arm. I went to the doctor to get it looked at and they said that it was "Tinea". They gave me a shampoo, the rash just got worse. I went back to the doctor, and they said the same thing. I was prescribed more shampoo. The rash started spreading and was beginning to turn into raised lesions; I headed straight to the hospital.
They tried to tell me the same thing, but my sister convinced them to do blood tests. Once they checked my blood, I was sent off to Brigham and Women's Hospital. I had no idea what was going on. The only thing I remember is being in the ambulance, on my way to the hospital. Come to find out, my blood pressure sky rocketed to 227/176 and I had lupus. I felt completely normal, like it was a regular day, but I was just on the hospital. I was admitted and went through blood transfusions, kidney biopsies and chemotherapy infusions for 6 months. I was also diagnosed with lupus nephritis; which is the disease affecting my kidneys.
So what is lupus exactly? It's the body basically fighting itself mistaking healthy cells for bad cells. It can affect any organ in the body, when it wants and how it wants. One day you can be perfectly fine, and the next you're in excruciating pain or have some other symptom going on. My symptoms include joint pain, headaches, migraines, hair loss, memory issues, muscle pain, high blood pressure, swelling, rash, butterfly rash on the face, just to name a few.
I’ve been wanting to have a child, but it was causing many issues. The medication I am currently taking will harm the baby, so I decided to plan my pregnancy with doctors. With their help and some patience, I was able to get pregnant!