Bolanle I. – Diagnosed at age 33
I was diagnosed at age 33. At this time, I already had two beautiful boys and did not intend to have more children.
Before my diagnosis, it was a real battle because the doctors could not say specifically what was causing pain in my body. I was told I had rheumatoid arthritis. It took taking my blood sample to South Africa to diagnose the condition because there were very few quality labs in Nigeria then.
I had a very bad flare which affected everything I stood for. I was doing my post-graduate studies, which I was meant to conclude in 2020 but I didn’t until May 2022. I was not able to walk or do anything meaningful for almost one year. I lost my memory in between and I struggled a lot. The condition affected my career progression at some point too.
To fight this condition, I never give up on myself and always look for ways to improve, including staying active. I just completed a post-graduate course, which is the second since my lupus journey began. I am raising 3 boys alone in another country where I go to school, and also running 2 separate businesses back in my home country. I love to impact knowledge, so I mentor some young people as well as alumni from my high school.
Lupus has definitely impacted my life, but I always tell myself it will not impact my future. I try to eat healthy, exercise, stay active and positive daily. I get all the support from family and friends when the need arises.
It is very important to take a rest from everything when you need to in order to manage the condition. I follow a lot of Lupus Foundation American's news but never participated in their programs because I do not live in America. But I would love to replicate some in Nigeria someday in the future.
What gives me hope is that this condition can be managed with positivity, resilience and eating as healthy as you can. Keeping active will help too. I am not there yet, but I am positive I will overcome this condition. I had my third boy when I was in remission some eight years ago, so I will stay positive.